“It's rough. Especially on my wife, Ryan's mom. We were really close,” said stepfather Sandy Rogers.
30 year old flight instructor Ryan Brungardt called his parents on a weekly basis, often looking to his step father Sandy Rogers to talk aviation. He had a life-long passion for flying.
“I took him for a plane ride in a little Cessna 150. He was 3 years old. I buckled him in. From that point on he was hooked,” said Rogers.
Brungardt was a K-State alum and grew up in Mount Hope, Kansas, but he moved to Colorado to help break into the business. He was a flight instructor and at the time of the accident he was up flying with one of his students. Eyewitnesses saw two planes clip one another and crash to the ground. It was shocking news to Rogers because Brungardt had logged 700 hours flying.
“The thing that impressed me about him is that he was such a safe pilot. He was safety oriented. A mid-air collision is very rare,” said Rogers.
Rogers said his son has hundreds of friends in Kansas and had a big heart.
"He was an awesome person."
Brungardt married the love of his life one year ago.
“Christina's a jewel. She's a once in a lifetime. And they fit. Oh it was pathetic, sickening how well they fit together. They would finish each other's sentences,” said Rogers.
She is surrounded with family and friends to help cope with their tragic loss. Although devastating Rogers wouldn't want the accident to change the way people feel about flying.
“If Ryan were here with me today he would still tell you it's 20 times safer than an automobile.”
Brungardt's funeral will be in Colorado on Saturday. His parents say a memorial service is also in the works, possibly in Mount Hope. He did not have life insurance. The parents set up a memorial at Legacy Bank in Wichita under “Remembering Ryan.” They say the funds will go to his wife.