[Editor’s Note: This is such a tragedy. Two lives lost and a magnificent P-51 all gone in an instant. Big Beautiful Doll was one of the most beautiful Mustangs I’d ever seen, and she was once owned by a friend of ours–Ed Shipley. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the two men aboard the aircraft when it went down. Blue skies and tailwinds, gentlemen.]
Friends, family, and former colleagues mourned the death of two aviation veterans following the Feb. 5 crash of a P-51D Mustang in Arizona. Pilot and owner Jeffrey Pino, who served as president of Sikorsky Aircraft from 2006 to 2012, and Nicholas Tramontano, a fellow warbird enthusiast, mechanic, and pilot, were killed when the restored fighter known as Big Beautiful Doll crashed and burned about 30 miles south of Phoenix.
Pino, 61, was well-known and well-liked in Arizona aviation and warbird circles, and beyond. He bought the airplane in 2014, according to a website created by Mustang enthusiasts that keeps track of the Mustang fleet.
“He would have been the last person I would think that would happen to,” said Scott Urschel, described as a fellow aviator in an interview with an Arizona television station.
Sikorsky President Dan Schultz released a statement Feb. 6 mourning Pino’s death and extending condolences to family and friends on behalf of the “Sikorsky family.”
“During his six years as President of Sikorsky, Jeff brought personal energy and passion for aviation innovation to our industry,” Schultz wrote. “It was during his time leading Sikorsky that the company first flew the X2 Technology demonstrator. 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.”
Jim Moore’s original article on AOPA can be seen here.
(Featured photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)