Lidle's flight instructor mourned at memorial service

WHITTIER, Calif. -- Family and friends remembered the flight instructor Saturday who died in a plane crash with New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle as someone who made a career out of his love of flying.

Tyler Stanger, 26, was killed Oct. 11 when the small plane he and Lidle were flying in smashed into a New York City high rise.

Family and friends said Saturday at a memorial service at Skyrose Chapel at Rose Hills Memorial Park that Stanger had loved flying since he was a boy and later made a career in aviation.

"That's the story of his life. He accomplished his dream," said Will Stanger, Tyler's uncle.

Lorie Strobel, a friend, recalled the first time she went up in a plane with Stanger.

"I was excited to see the sunset and stars above. Then Tyler said, 'Welcome to my world,'" Strobel said.

Stanger, who got his pilot's license at age 17, owned the flying school Stang-AIR at Brackett Field in La Verne, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles. He trained Lidle there last year and the two became friends.

Stanger and Lidle were making an aerial tour of Manhattan before flying back to California on when Lidle's single-engine Cirrus SR20 slammed into a building. Investigators have not determined the cause of the crash or who was at the controls.

After the service as the mourners made their way from the chapel to the grave site, four airplanes flew over in a "missing man" formation, followed by a jet.