MARICOPA, Ariz. – A former president of a major aircraft manufacturer was one of the two people killed after their World War II-era plane crashed and burned near the town of Maricopa.
Pilot Jeffrey Pino, 61, was formerly the president of Sikorsky Aircraft, a Connecticut-based aircraft manufacturer. The second victim was identified as 72-year-old Nickolas Tramontano of Brookfield, Connecticut, Mark Clark of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said.
“The Sikorsky family is saddened to learn of the sudden loss of former President Jeff Pino. We extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers of sympathy and support to his family and friends during this difficult time,” current president Dan Schultz said in a statement posted on the company’s website.
Schultz said Pino, who last lived in Chandler, Arizona, was Sikorsky’s president from 2006 to 2012, during which he “brought personal energy and passion for aviation innovation to our industry.”
“We remember Jeff as a leader, pioneer, innovator and advocate. May his family be comforted by the lasting impression and legacy Jeff has left behind,” Schultz said. Last year, Lockheed Martin bought Sikorsky Aircraft, which, among other things, makes the U.S. military’s Black Hawk helicopter, for $9 billion.
Preliminary information on the Friday crash indicated the plane was a P-51D Mustang, a type of single-engine American fighter used during World War II, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
The spokesman said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash in Maricopa, which is about 35 miles south of Phoenix.