You learn alot about the history of a place by talking to the neighbors. Particularly during these times of rebuilding at the Jersey Shore, people who might normally elicit a wave in the street stop to chat about what was — as a backdrop to what will be again. We were fortunate; though the four level units below us were flood damaged, our elevation protected us. Several of the homes situated lakeside were wiped out from Sandy whirlpooling Little Silver Lake from the back yard into a confluence with the Atlantic Ocean coming down the block through the front yard.
It was from our neighbor to the East, who was clearing out downed shrubs between our properties, that I learned this morning that 101 Trenton Avenue in Point Pleasant Beach was once owned by Vince & Rose Vitollo before Art Matuschat took the old bungalows and modernized it into the beautiful condo that it is. Evidently Vince was and adventuresome guy, who parked his ultralight plane in the back yard and took off right over the lake to work every day.
I don’t know much about Ultralight Flying, but from what I’ve read it’s hobbyists adore the feeling of flying this plane, a cross between being a bird, a plane and Superman. Some feel it isn’t particularly safe, the engine basically having the power of what you’d find in a good garden lawnmower. This has generated some controversy about the sport, or hobby, or call it what you will.
This isn’t Vince Vitollo, but it could just as well have been him. Try to imagine the scene in our backyard, as Vince took off each morning like a 20th century fox. He lived in the rear unit of what was a small set of bungalows, occupying the rear unit and renting out the forward ones. What is now the breezeway was Vince’s landing strip.
The pilot of an ultralight aircraft, one of the leading experts on the unconventional planes, was killed and his student critically injured when their plane crashed near a golf course shortly after takeoff yesterday afternoon, the authorities said.
Vince Vitollo, 75, a flight instructor, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, near the Fairways Golf Course, at 2:30 P.M., the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said. Mr. Vitollo’s student in the two-seat aircraft, Theodore Koziol of Brick, N.J., was in critical condition last night at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune.
Greg Sakowicz, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said the plane took off from the Ultra-Light Aircraft Center in Jackson, which was owned and operated by Mr. Vitollo.
An employee of the flight center, Jack Eicholtz, said Mr. Vitollo was a pioneer in the ultralight industry, a former Army Air Corps flight instructor and a retired aviation researcher. ”Ninety percent of the people in New Jersey who fly ultralights were trained by Vince,” said Richard Dinnerman, a fellow pilot.