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Father, son flew for 'alone' time

October 2, 2012 12:10 am


K. Morton


John Morton loved flying. His son, Kyle, loved spending time with his father.

On Saturday, the two went to Shannon Airport to spend time together in the air, but something went terribly wrong. The Cessna 150M they were in crashed, killing them both.

"It's a pilot's wife's worst nightmare," Kristy Morton said in an interview Monday from her home in Stafford County's White Oak area, as she tried to come to grips with the death of her husband and son.

"All weekend has been a shock and not comprehending that it happened."

The crash happened after the plane took off at about 5:15 p.m. Witnesses said the Cessna went up sharply and then plummeted to the ground. It landed in the River Heights mobile home park near the airport. John Morton, 48, and Kyle Morton, 13, died at the scene.

The Virginia State Police, Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

"It doesn't really matter what happened," Kristy Morton said. "I've lost my husband and son, and I can't change that."

Instead of worrying about what led to the crash, she and daughter Adriane, a junior at Stafford High School, are dealing with the whirlwind that has followed the tragedy, such as setting up funeral arrangements.

Still, Kristy Morton said support from the community--family and friends, her family's church, Stafford County schools and the Stafford County Sheriff's Office--has made dealing with the tragedy bearable.

"Everyone that has reached out has been such a help," she said. "That is a great sense of comfort."

On Monday she talked about her husband's lifelong passion for aviation and her "tenderhearted" son's love of sports cars.

John Morton grew up in South Carolina and eventually became an airplane mechanic for United Airlines. He worked there for 13 years before being laid off in the early 2000s, his wife said. About five years ago he was hired by the FBI as a computer and electronics technician.

"He loved his job there," she said.

She said he also loved his family and traveling--they had recently gone to Germany and Mexico together. Aside from that, John Morton's real passions were mechanics and flying.

He loved the aviation community, too, Kristy Morton said, adding that many of those aviation friends let him fly their planes. On Saturday he was flying a plane owned by Donald Hockaday of Woodford.

"It's been a great hobby for him," she said of flying. "It was a good stress reliever hanging out with the guys."

Her son, an eighth-grader at Dixon-Smith Middle School, was a good kid with a big heart who loved sports cars, his mother said. In fact, at a recent car show with his dad, Kyle got to sit in a Ferrari. "He loved that."

Kyle enjoyed going to Shannon and flying, she said, but mostly "because he wanted to spend time with his dad."

She said a private funeral will be held at the Fredericksburg Expo Center Friday at 10 a.m. The family also has set up the Morton Family Memorial Fund through PNC Bank.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

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