Ex-Sikorsky President Jeff Pino Killed in P-51 Crash

 - February 6, 2016, 12:03 PM
Jeff Pino, 61, the former Sikorsky president and vice chairman of startup XTI Aircraft, died February 5 in a crash of his P-51D Mustang, "Big Beautiful Doll." (Photo: AIN)

Former Sikorsky Aircraft president Jeffrey Pino has been identified as one of two victims in the fatal crash Friday afternoon of an P-51D Mustang in Maricopa, Ariz., 35 miles south of Phoenix. The second victim was identified Saturday as vintage aircraft owner and enthusiast Nicholas Tramontano, 72, a longtime friend of Pino’s.

A retired Master Army Aviator, Pino joined Sikorsky in 2002 following 17 years at Bell Helicopter. He was named president of the Stratford, Conn.-based helicopter manufacturer in 2006, and during his tenure oversaw an extensive product development effort that included introduction of the X2 semi-compound rotorcraft technology demonstrator, the recipient of the 2010 Collier Trophy.

Pino also spearheaded Sikorsky's 2011 minority stake in very light jet manufacturer Eclipse Aerospace, with initial reports suggesting the company would also assist Eclipse with production. Sikorsky parent company United Technologies (UTC) later pulled back from those plans.

After retiring from Sikorsky in 2012, Pino most recently served as vice-chairman for personal VTOL developer XTI Aircraft. The founder of that company, David Brody, called Pino "a true leader, pioneer and industry legend.”

Pino owned the P-51D Mustang, “Big Beautiful Doll,” since early 2014, and that October made a successful gear-up landing in the airplane following trouble with its left main gear. The aircraft resumed flying last August, according to Pino’s Facebook page.