A vigil was held Thursday night in honor of Frank de Leon Compres, a Utah State University Aviation Technology student who died in a plane crash in Hyrum.
Family members, friends and colleagues raved about Frank de Leon Compres. They said he was known for his warm, laid-back demeanor and his hearty smile.
A scholarship was set up in his memory for future Aviation Technology program students, even though Compres was involved in many other clubs and organizations on campus.
"We know that we lost a life. We lost an incredible human being,” said Christian Rodriguez, a good friend of Compres. “But with this scholarship, we would be changing someone else’s life. So this is an opportunity to help someone else."
Andreas Wesemann, with USU’s Aviation Technology program, says Frank initially studied Aircraft Maintenance before he changed majors to get his professional pilot’s license. Compres passed all of his tests from the Federal Aviation Administration and received his professional pilot license. He was expected to graduate spring of 2017.
“But he actually had over 140 credits,” Wesemann said. “He completed everything for his degree. He was ready to graduate with his first degree in maintenance management, he was just working on additional courses. They completed the course and gave him a degree.”
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the conditions of the airplane that crashed. Also, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating things like weather conditions and air traffic control logs.
“It may take some time before we know some answers,” he said. “I know these are the best maintained airplanes.”
Wesemann said Diamond Aircraft has given USU’s aviation program high ratings for the maintenance of their airplanes.
“This was the first known fatality known in the history of our program ever,” he said. “Frank was one of the sharpest students. Every instructor said that it was most surprising it was him because that’s not him. He’s meticulous, he pays attention to detail, he understands things better than half the instructors because he’s a maintenance individual. He knows how to build these airplanes as well as how to maintain them.”