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'It's devastating that she's gone': Pilot's family mourns daughter after crash

Posted at 3:05 PM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 17:05:05-04

SALMON, Idaho — The family of Brittney Infanger, the 30-year-old pilot killed Wednesday when her plane crashed while on approach to an Idaho airport, remembers their daughter as an adventurous soul who lit up a room any time she entered.

"We're just sad and horrified and heartbroken," said Brittney's father, Jim Bob Infanger, holding back tears.

Six days a week Infanger flew packages for UPS around Utah and Idaho, and had left Salt Lake City International Airport on her way to Burley early Wednesday. However, about 90 minutes later, Infanger died on impact after her plane crashed into a potato processing plant at the end of the runway.

"It's devastating that she's gone," Sharon Infanger, Brittney's mother, said.

The fifth of seven children, Brittney caught the flying bug from her father, who is also a pilot. She took her first solo flight at the age of 19, before putting flying on the back-burner attending college and serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Brittney Infanger and father
Photo of Brittney Infanger and her father, Jim Bob Infanger

After her mission, Infanger went to flight school and became a teacher in Arizona, even moving back to Idaho during the pandemic to continue to teach pilots.

"I'm just reflecting on the amazing life she had," Sharon shared. "She just lived her dream. She loved to fly. She was very adventurous."

Infanger's parents learned of the accident from the owner of the company their daughter worked for, and immediately flew to Burley from their home in Salmon.

Being an experienced pilot, Jim Bob Infanger railed against the hazardous conditions flying in and out of Burley Municipal Airport. He said the plant, which features a large chimney, sits the width of the Snake River away from the runway.

"On a typical flight in, you have to go over the top of these obstructions and then quickly drop down to get on the runway that's right at the edge of the river," said Infanger. "So it's a very, very technical airport to come into."

Brittney Infanger
Brittney Infanger

The Infangers now want answers about the hazards pilots face while using the airport.

"Is there an accounting for the people that approved (the chimney) when it was such a dangerous addition to that plant," asked Sharon Infanger.

"Our mission is to get the Burley Airport closed," said Jim Bob. "We don't think it's safe for pilots going in and out."

A funeral for Brittney will be held on April 23 in her hometown of Salmon. Her parents said they have already received a tremendous outpouring of support from friends and family in the small town.

Brittney Infanger in plane
Brittney Infanger in the pilot's seat of her plane

More than just a pilot, Brittney was a 4.0 student and the valedictorian of her high school class.

"One of those perfect children that don't come around very often, and it's hard to let her go," said Sharon.