Victims of Wisconsin plane crash were pilots, one a member of 115th Fighter Wing
By SHANZEH AHMAD | The Wisconsin State Journal | Published: February 21, 2021
(Tribune News Service) — Both victims of a Tuesday plane crash in Janesville were celebrated pilots, and one was a "valued member" of the Madison-based Wisconsin Air National Guard 115th Fighter Wing and a decorated veteran.
Staff Sgt. Remington K. Viney, 26, of Kimberly, and Tanner W. Byholm, 25, of Glidden, died in the crash about a mile south of the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport shortly before 9:20 a.m. Tuesday.
"It was no secret that Staff Sgt. Viney had a passion for flying," the 115th Fighter Wing said in a Facebook post.
Viney began her military career with the Wisconsin Air National Guard in December 2013 after graduating with honors from Sun Prairie High School in 2012. She enlisted as a crew chief and was assigned to the 115th Fighter Wing. In 2018, she began working full-time in the command post.
She got her private and commercial pilot licenses and worked as a flight instructor. Viney was also captain of the Wisconsin Flying Team and a founding member of the nonprofit organization Women in Aviation's local chapter, according to her obituary.
Viney was deployed overseas several times. She was sent to the Kadena Air Base in Japan in 2015, Kunsan Air Base in Korea in 2017 and Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in 2018.
She received the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and several more.
Viney earned an associate degree in aircraft maintenance technology before getting a bachelor's degree in business administration and management marketing from UW-Madison in 2017.
Byholm served as a Marine reservist for six years before joining the Air Force Reserve, and he became an A-10 pilot.
"Tanner loved flying and shared that love with his family and friends, taking them up in the air as often as he could," according to his obituary.
Byholm earned his flight instruction certification from Fox Valley Technical College and a degree from UW-Oshkosh, according to his obituary. He graduated from Chequamegon High School.
Viney and Byholm were the only occupants in the "experimental" and "very unique" plane that crashed Tuesday, authorities said. The plane had taken off from the airport and was trying to come back when it crashed in a wooded, low-lying area.
Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson said the crash site was "treacherous to get to." Responders reached the site shortly after 10 a.m. and found the plane upside down and partially submerged in water and mud.
A Wisconsin State Journal story from June 2013 said a 19-year-old Viney made a "textbook emergency landing" in a Dodge County cornfield after the plane she was flying with her mother and grandparents as passengers had apparently malfunctioned. She landed the plane with no damage to the aircraft and no injured passengers. A report by Wisconsin Public Radio's "Wisconsin Life" in 2016 shows Viney discussing the incident.