Authorities Investigate P-51D Mustang Crash in Arizona

Federal authorities are investigating what caused the February 5, 2016, crash of a P-51D Mustang in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Tragically, the incident caused the death of two pillars of the Connecticut aviation community: Jeffrey Pino, former President of The Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and passenger Nickolas Tramontano, who has been described as the "mayor" of Connecticut's Oxford Airport.

Witnesses reported hearing the aircraft's engine cease shortly before the plane clipped a power line and struck the ground.

The P-51D Mustang is a World War II era combat plane. The accident aircraft, registration number N551JP, was manufactured in 1944 and had a Rolls Royce-Packard V1650 Merlin engine.

"The P-51 was one of the last propeller-driven fighter aircraft. It was designed for power and speed," says Kreindler & Kreindler partner Dan Rose, a former United States Navy aviator who has flown the P-51. "The Mustang has aerodynamic design features to maximize its speed but it is a very heavy aircraft: if it loses power at low altitudes, it can be very unforgiving."

Kreindler & Kreindler will be monitoring the investigation of the February 5 crash. Authorities will inspect the aircraft's engine and pore over its maintenance records to determine what may have caused the purported engine failure. A preliminary factual report should be issued in the coming days.

If you have any questions regarding this incident, please contact Kreindler partners Dan Rose, Brian Alexander, or Justin Green.