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Family, friends say goodbye to Morris Douglas Newton Jr., who died in plane crash

Morris Douglas Newton Jr. memorial on Friday, October 20, 2017. (Photo Credit: KFOX14/CBS4)

A well-known and accomplished pilot instructor from Las Cruces was remembered Friday with a memorial service.

Doug Newton died last week after his single engine Cesna crashed four miles northeast of Las Cruces. Newton was helping a student pilot, David Hancock, get his night flying hours for pilot certification. Hancock was also killed in the crash.

The NTSB said the plane was preparing to land when it hit the ground for unknown reasons. The FAA is still investigating.

The aviation community in Las Cruces told CBS4 that they lost more than just a pilot. Many said Newton was an irreplaceable teacher.

“You call him up and he's an encyclopedia,” Andrew Meloan said.

Meloan was not only Newton's nephew but one of his many flying students.

“You grow up looking at this man and he's your idol,” Meloan said. “Absolutely he's the reason I wanted to learn to fly. He's the kind of person you want to be more like.”

He looked up to him so much that he made sure his son, Andrew, also learned from Newton.

“It was amazing learning from Doug because he knows the answer to every question and every situation,” said Andrew Meloan, Meloan’s son. “He would slow down and make you look it up and go through the material with you.”

The former navy pilot had a lifetime of knowledge that he racked up through his years of flying.

“Twelve years of his life is in the air when you count up all the hours that he's flown,” Meloan said.

Those gathered to pay their respects said Newton was the best of the best when it came to flying and teaching.

“He would never miss an opportunity to share his knowledge with us. If there was a problem, if there was a question, he was always the guy,” Brett Hahn said.

For students like Meloan they're not quite sure how to continue their aviation careers without Newton by their side.

”Every two or three weeks I'd call him and have questions for him,” Meloan said. “I really don't know who I'm going to call. He just leaves a hole.

Newton is survived by his wife and three children.

Preliminary NTSB report

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