The man who died in a fiery single-engine plane crash at Falmouth Airpark Saturday morning was identified Monday as a 24-year-old flight instructor who was planning to get married this month.
The two other occupants of the aircraft, who were seriously injured, were identified as a married couple from Connecticut in their 50s.
Aaron Mentkowski of Wallingford, Conn., was killed when the Cirrus SR22 went down shortly after 11 a.m., authorities and his family said. The plane had flown to Falmouth from Tweed New Haven Airport in New Haven.
“We’re just devastated,” Mentkowski’s mother, Lyn of Bay Village, Ohio, said in a phone interview.
She and her husband, John, said their son fell in love with aviation as a child, when the family won a contest to meet the Olsen twins from the sitcom “Full House” and flew out to San Diego.
“He was more interested in running around the parking lot with his arms spread out pretending he was the airplane,” John Mentkowski said.
The Mentkowskis said their son planned to marry his fiancee, Zoe Behrens, in Ohio, where the couple eventually hoped to return. They both attended Bay High School in Bay Village and came to New England about two years ago for work, the Mentkowskis said.
In a statement, Falmouth police identified the other two occupants as Diane Palmeri, 54, and Albert Rossini, 55, both of Guilford, Conn. They were severely burned in the crash and taken to Boston-area hospitals for treatment. Their conditions could not be determined Monday, and their relatives could not be reached for comment.
Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said Monday that the agency is continuing to investigate the crash, but he could not discuss details of the inquiry.
A preliminary report on the facts is expected in about 10 days and a final report, including the probable cause, in 12 to 18 months, Weiss said.
It was not clear Monday who was piloting the aircraft at the time of the crash.
Robinson Aviation, a company that offers training flights out of Tweed New Haven Airport, said in a statement that Mentkowski was “attempting a landing” when the plane went down.
Mentkowski worked as an instructor for Robinson Aviation.
“It is with heavy and sadden[ed] hearts that we acknowledge the death of Aaron Mentkowski,” the company wrote on its Facebook page. “Aaron was fatally injured while attempting a landing at Falmouth Air Park. Aaron also had a student and passenger on board. The student and passenger were seriously injured and are currently hospitalized.”
Lyn Mentkowski said her son told her on Friday that Rossini would be working on “touch and goes” the following morning, in which an aircraft lands and then departs without stopping.
The Mentkowskis said they were angered that Robinson Aviation and its owner, Ken Robinson, would release information that federal authorities have not confirmed. Ken Robinson could not be reached for comment Monday night.
According to the FAA, the plane is registered to Bobo Aviation LLC in Guilford, Conn. The company was registered with the Connecticut secretary of the state’s office in March, with Rossini listed as Bobo’s agent, according to the state’s online corporate database.
Rossini retired in January from Tangoe Inc., a technology company based in Orange, Conn., where he served as executive vice president for worldwide sales, a company spokesman said.
“I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear the news that Al Rossini and his wife Diane were injured in a plane crash this weekend on Cape Cod,” Al Subbloie, Tangoe’s president and chief executive, said in a statement on Monday. “. . . I know I speak for everyone at Tangoe in extending our thoughts and prayers to Al and Diane and their families at this difficult time.”
The Mentkowskis said their son graduated from Bowling Green State University in Ohio with an aviation degree in 2010. He worked long hours per week for Robinson, they said.
Lyn Mentkowski said the plane that crashed had recently undergone repairs, but that could not be confirmed on Monday night.
She also said her son had told her that the Falmouth strip sometimes had challenging wind conditions. “Aaron was keenly aware of the wind shears and how bad it could be,” she said.