Festival features fancy flying

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 6, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Linda Stevens, executive director of Suffolk Festivals Inc., and Billy Wyatt, 2004 president of Suffolk Festivals Inc., announced Monday that Suffolk Executive Airport will play a major role in this year’s festival events. The City of Suffolk and the airport are sponsoring the &uot;Peanut Fest Air Show.&uot;

&uot;Our City Manager, Steve Herbert, felt that since the airport provides the festival site each year, they should take part in Peanut Fest,&uot; said Kent Marshall, manager of the airport. &uot;We’ve got what I think will be a thrilling air show and we have several planes and pilots lined up. They’ve promised that Suffolk will definitely know they’ve witnessed an air show when they’ve completed their performance.&uot;

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Marshall said he’s booked three exciting performances to fill the sky over the festival tents. The first show takes place at 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 11 and the second event is set for 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 12.

Among the vintage planes that will fly over Peanut Fest are an F4U Corsair, the famous P40 War Hawk, and a British Spitfire, all three are rare planes today. They are based at the &uot;Fighter Factory&uot; out at Suffolk Executive Airport, along with several other antique planes.

&uot;These planes are loud and they are fast and they’ll be coming in low, so watch out Suffolk!&uot; exclaimed Marshall. &uot;We are blessed to have probably one of the best collections of flying World War II military aircraft around. The owner of the planes, Gerald Yeagan of Virginia Beach, is truly looking forward to showing off the jewels of his collection. They’ll be flying furiously on Saturday and Sunday and we hope everyone will come out and see one of the best shows in Peanut Fest.&uot;

Anders Brandi, professional stunt man and wing walker, is one of the thrilling daredevils appearing in the air show. He walks the wing of pilot Eddie Andreini’s Modified Super Stearman plane in the skies above crowds at air shows across the country.

One of only a handful of wing walkers in the nation, Anders climbs around on the wing of the World War II era bi-plane without a parachute. The plane reaches speeds of over 160 miles per hour, as Anders masterfully performs, rolls, loops, tail slides, snap rolls, inverted flight and spins with Anders holding on for the ride.

In addition to other dizzying stunts, Anders amazes crowds as he does a headstand on top of Andreini’s Super Stearman while the plane rolls upside down. Anders adds to the excitement when he climbs out on the lower wing, hanging upside down as the plane reaches 140 miles per hour. At that point Andreini rolls the plane over to the inverted position leaving Anders sitting upright on the bottom wing waving to the crowd.

A pilot himself, Anders is originally from Sweden, and traveled the world for years before finding his current home on the San Mateo County, Calif. coast, where he is a building contractor. When he isn’t going for a ride on Eddie’s wing, Anders enjoys rock climbing and sky diving.

&uot;All my adventures were just preparation for the rush of riding on the wing of Eddie Andreini’s bi-plane,&uot; he said.

Andreini, the pilot, started flying in a L2 Taylorcraft at age 16 while still in high school. Today, he is a commercial instrument rated pilot and has a Federal Aviation Administration acrobatic ground level waiver. He said he has more than 6,000 hours of flight time in a variety of aircraft and is the proud owner of the only flying Russian Yak-9UM in the United States. He will be flying this new aircraft at Peanut Fest.

Anders and pilot Andreini have performed their aeronautic Superbatic feats across the globe.

Also, from the Fighter Factory at Suffolk Airport, prepare to be amazed as the art of &uot;barnstorming&uot; is brought back when &uot;Jane,&uot; the Beauty attempts to tame the wild and snarling 450 Stearman known as &uot;The Beast&uot;

&uot;Jane attempts to break and corral the winged beast by climbing and walking, without tethers, to several different locations upon the aircraft, showing The Beast and the crowd that she is in full command,&uot; said Marshall.

Another performer in Suffolk’s Peanut Fest Air Show is Roger Marshall, a 45 year old airline captain who has been performing air shows for 15 years. A former crop duster and instructor, he hauled cargo for a time, and then was hired by a major airline. When not in the air, he enjoys playing with a rock ‘n roll and blues band in nightclubs. He flies the Yak 55M, a Russian aircraft built for unlimited aerobatics.

&uot;You will definitely enjoy watching the Yak go through its paces, performing gyroscopic maneuvers, snap rolls, loops, torque rolls and the &uot;spiraling tower&uot;,&uot; said Marshall. &uot;The Yak can stop in mid air and power out to level flight like no other aircraft. With all this great entertainment, we think the skies over Suffolk will be the most exciting they’ve ever been!&uot;

The Suffolk Peanut Fest opens Thursday at 2 p.m., at the Suffolk Executive Airport just off Carolina Road (Route 13).