Sometimes, there is comfort in a cliche.

Ed L’Hommedieu of North Yarmouth has been identified as the pilot killed on Sunday when his twin-engine plane crashed in Biddeford.

On Wednesday, his son, E. Chris, was still contending with the shock and pain of it. But he knew one thing for certain. His father died doing what he loved the most.

“He had his pilot’s license before he had his driver’s license,” Chris L’Hommedieu said.

Ed L’Hommedieu’s life was all about airplanes. He was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during his 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. He was the dean of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He managed airports all over the world and served as pilot examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration. For a time, he made his living simply by moving private airplanes from one point to another all around the world.

And for a short period that his son will never forget, Ed L’Hommedieu ran his own airline service, Dolphin Express Airlines, in the Virgin Islands.

“I ran it with him for a year,” said Chris, now a Lewiston lawyer. “It was the best year ever.”

Ed L’Hommedieu was 71 years old.

On Sunday, he was flying a twin-engine Cessna from White Plains, N.Y., on his way to Portland. Somewhere along the way, L’Hommedieu decided to take a detour to Biddeford.

“He decided at the last minute,” Chris said, “to go have dinner with a friend.”

At about 6 p.m., investigators said, the Cessna crashed into some trees and then into a house not far from the Biddeford airport. The cause of the crash was still being investigated.

Chris L’Hommedieu has his own ideas about that.

“He had more experience than most,” Chris said. “When there was trouble, he turned into a machine. He knew what to do and when to do it. There’s no question in my mind that it was the aircraft.”

Few would question Chris’ assessment of his father’s skills. Certainly not the United States Air Force.

In a citation to accompany the Award of The Distinguished Flying Cross, Ed L’Hommedieu is praised for his work while participating as a B-52 radar navigator near Hanoi, North Vietnam, on Dec. 28, 1972.

“On that date, Captain L’Hommedieu participated in one of the most massive airstrikes in the history of the Strategic Air Command,” the citation states. “Despite intensive electronic jamming, he was able to accomplish a synchronous bomb run, delivering the weapons on the assigned target. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Captain L’Hommedieu reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”

Like many pilots, Ed L’Hommedieu had a wild side, according to his son. There was the time as a young pilot when he used to joy ride around what would later become JFK Airport in New York.

“He got chased away from the airport a few times,” his son said.

There was the time when he was moving private planes for a living. He delivered an airplane to a senator in Liberia and then had to sneak onto British Airways to get out of the country.

“That’s the kind of nutty stuff he would do,” Chris said.

The owner of L’Hommedieu Law Office in Lewiston, Chris is also debuting as an actor in the Community Little Theatre play “Blood Brothers.” Over the weekend, his father took a break from the skies to watch his son in action.

“He came to the show on Saturday night,” Chris said. “The last time I saw my dad was backstage.”

Ed L’Hommedieu also leaves behind a daughter and three grandchildren.

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