BROOKFIELD, Conn. — Nicholas "Nick" Tramontano of Brookfield died while doing something that he loved, according to multiple media reports.
Tramontano, 72, was killed in the crash of a vintage World War II plane piloted by his good friend, former Sikorsky president Jeff Pino, last week near Maricopa, Ariz.
The plane, a P-51 Mustang dubbed the “Big Beautiful Doll,” was owned and piloted by Pino.
Tramontano had also been a pilot, according to Maricopa.com .
His airline career spanned 33 years, starting at New York Airways and also including Seaboard World Airlines, Flying Tigers, and FedEx, from which he retired, Maricopa.com said.
Tramontano loved vintage aircraft and owned multiple planes. One was a World War II-era Beechcraft Model 18, which he allowed children from Sandy Hook Elementary school to tour weeks after the mass shooting as part of a field trip, Maricopa.com said.
An accomplished aviator, Tramontano had logged over 26,000 flight hours as a pilot, according to VerticalMag.com .
He was known fondly as “the mayor of Oxford Airport,” where he did most of his flying, and also spent years at the Danbury Municipal Airport, according to the News-Times.
Kari Sorenson of Danbury told the News-Times that Tramontano "was an amazing pilot and an amazing mechanic. He could basically fly anything with wings.”
Tramontano is survived by his wife, Sandy; and a brother, sister, three children, a stepson and several grandchildren.
Pino led Sikorsky from 2006 to 2012, when he retired, going to work later for XTI Aircraft, an experimental startup company.
"As the former President of Sikorsky Aircraft, Jeff was a true leader, pioneer and industry legend," said David Brody, founder and chairman of XTI Aircraft. "As the Vice Chairman of XTI Aircraft Company, Jeff was a brilliant strategist, visionary and expert in all things aviation."
Brody also said, "Jeff loved flying."
It was during Pino's time leading Sikorsky that the company first flew the X2 Technology demonstrator.
The cause of last week's fatal crash was still under investigation.