Friends of the young flight instructor who died in a plane crash in Virginia Thursday said her lifelong dream was to become a commercial pilot and called her a legend for working towards it.
Viktoria Theresie Izabelle Ljungman, 23, died in the crash when an 18-year-old student pilot she was instructing pulled the small plane up at too steep of an angle at takeoff — which caused the engine to stall and the aircraft to plummet from about 100 feet.
“I remember when I first met her, that’s all she ever wanted to do. She wanted to be a commercial pilot,” Charlie Hudson, who played tennis with Ljungman at Hampton University, told the Daily Press.
Ljungman, who was from Sweden, attended Hampton University in Virginia and earned her pilot license in March 2021, followed by her flight instructor license this April.
Her former college roommate at Hampton, Myana Mabry, said she was proud of her for following her dreams and would often brag about her accomplishments to other students.
“To know ‘Hey, my roommate is a legend — not a legend in the making, but a legend,” Mabry told WAVY. “It was just so commendable and so rewarding to see her dreams become a reality.”
Ljungman documented her “journey to become an airline pilot” on her Instagram account “viktoriathepilot” where she shared photos and videos from the cockpit.
“She was just … such a pure soul that she seemed so innocent,” Hudson told the Daily Press. “How she presents herself on social media … was how she was in person. I think that’s quite rare these days, to find someone who’s like for like, both in person and online.”
Mabry said her former roommate was loved by everyone she met at the university.
“She just was her being so authentic, people were naturally drawn to her,” she told WAVY.
Hudson also remembered her for her positive personality that drew others in.
“I don’t remember her ever not smiling,” he said. “She was just contagious in her energy, just lovely to be around.”
The single-engine Cessna 172, carrying Ljungman, the student pilot Oluwagbohunmi Ayomide Oyebode and another unidentified 18-year-old student, crashed down around 3 p.m. in a ditch at Newport News-Williamsburg Airport.
The two 18-year-olds, current students at Hampton University, were taken to Riverside Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. Oyebode was later transferred to VCU Medical Center in Richmond.
Ljungman’s graduating class at Hampton is working to organize donations to her family, Mabry said.