University Affairs

USU Aviation Student Dies in Crash

Utah State University mourns the loss of aviation technology student Frank M. De Leon Compres, who was killed in a plane crash during a solo flight Monday, July 18.

A 21-year-old senior in the Utah State University Aviation Program died Monday (July 18) when his single-engine aircraft crashed around noon in a field south of Hyrum, in Cache County. No other person was on board at the time. Cause of the crash is still unknown.

Here is a quick summary of what is known so far:

  • Pilot’s name: Frank Marino De Leon Compres
  • Age: 21 (Nov. 14, 1994)
  • Major and department: Senior in Aviation Technology-Maintenance Management, Ag Systems Technology
  • Expected graduation date: Spring 2017
  • Resident Assistant at USU’s Davis Hall
  • He was part of the USU Professional Pilot Program
  • He was a fully licensed private pilot. He was working on earning additional ratings at the time of the crash.
  • Plane that crashed: DA-40 Diamond Aircraft single engine fixed gear (2006)
  • Complete USU fleet information: 17 planes total (mostly added to the program in 2006)
    • 10 DA-40 Diamond Aircraft – single engine fixed gear (2006)
    • 3 Piper Arrows – single engine (1975-1976)
    • 3 DA-42 Diamond Aircraft – twin engine (2006)
    • 1 Cessna (age unknown)
  • Wind speed when the plane took off from Logan-Cache Airport (time unknown): 6 m.p.h
  • Conditions for flying were satisfactory. No restrictions issued at the time
  • This is the first-known fatality in the program
  • USU Professional Pilot program headcount (fall 2015): 180 students and an additional 68 students in the aviation maintenance program
  • Degree name: Aviation Technology Professional Pilot Degree
  • Program began in 1939

Andreas Wesemann, aviation professor with the program, said the pilot was an Honors Student who was highly looked up to. “He was one of our sharpest. He was well-motivated and well-liked in the program. This is a sad day for the USU aviation program.”

Contacts for media only of individuals who had connections with Frank De Leon Compres and willing to be interviewed:

  • Andreas Wesemann (taught De Leon Compres): 720.469.2736
  • Shelley Ortiz, Program Director, International Sponsored Students: 435.797.1649
  • Sarah Guzman (friend): 435.512.6183
  • Luis Armenta, Diversity VP for USU: 801.558.6179
  • Ashley Waddoups, USUSA President (De Leon Compres was on the USUSA International Student Council): 435.705.4221.

Images of Frank De Leon Compres available at:

Contact: Tim Vitale, 435.797.1356, Cell: 435.760.3735

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