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“He pushed safety like no other pilot I know” – Remembering Idaho pilot Sage Teichert – LocalNews8.com

ARCO, Idaho (KIFI) – Local News 8 learns more about the life and character of agricultural plane pilot Sage Teichert, who died in the tragic agricultural plane accident last week.

Jared Gifford met Sage 25 years ago at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. He says his best friend had a great personality and was a great father who loved to make people laugh.

Jared says his friend was the safest pilot he has ever met.

“He was originally a cowboy from Nevada and the skinny little cowboy you imagine,” Gifford told Local News 8. “He was funny. He was happy. He had an infectious smile so you just couldn't be around him without smiling and being happy.”

At one point, the Nevada cowboy gave up his saddle to ride high above the Idaho skyline. Sage was interviewed two years ago about his experiences as a pilot.

“I really enjoy everything about aviation,” Sage told Heinen Brothers Agra Services videographers. “As long as it's a seat in the air, I like it!”

Jared says Sage trained nearly a hundred pilots during their friendship, including his (Jared's) own daughter.

Sage was known for his strong emphasis on security, Jared says.

“He pushed safety like no other pilot I know,” Jared told Local News 8. “I know it shocked a lot of us. At least half a dozen other pilots called me and asked, 'How could this happen to Sage?'”

“We don't know. But I do know it's not because of anything he did. It's just not possible because he was too confident as an individual.”

Sage’s own interview confirms Jared’s words.

“Safety is always the top priority in everything the Heinen brothers do,” Sage told a group in 2022. “I've had a huge range of experience and just being able to see everything from so many different angles helps me as a pilot.”

Jared and Sage both caught the flying bug at an early age. He says this shared passion was a highlight of their friendship and enabled the Butte County agricultural aircraft pilot to support his wife and four children on his own.

Jared hopes the tragedy inspires everyone to stay safe and spread kindness wherever possible.

“I think Sage would appreciate it if this horrible, tragic accident could just help more people,” Jared told reporters, choking back tears. “Help us all be a little bit kinder and reach out and help more people. I think he would be happy with that.”

Jared and his wife Stephanie have started an online fundraiser to support Sage's family and have raised over $11,000 as of Monday afternoon.

Click here for more info.

Anna Harden

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