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Plane crash kills two, including Lake Oswego pilot-to-be

Kyle Houghton dies in crash near Alsea
by: SUBMITTED, Kyle Donovan Houghton

Kyle Donovan Houghton of Lake Oswego, who was training to be a commercial pilot, was killed on Sept. 12 when the plane he was in crashed near Alsea.

Houghton, 20, was flying with Duane Jasper 'DJ' Miller, 24, of Billings, Mont., his flight instructor and close family friend.

They were flying in Houghton's single-engine Piper Cherokee 140, when the plane went down about eight miles west of Alsea. Miller's grandfather saw the plane fly over and heard the plane go down. He and Duane Miller, DJ's father, were the first to find the crash site the next day, less then half a mile from their homes.

Houghton had his pilot's license and was working on his instrument rating and was hopeful of getting his commercial pilot license in December.

'Based on what was witnessed and found at the crash site there was almost certainly engine malfunction just before the crash,' said his father, Tom Houghton. 'The boys had to make a quick emergency landing and did the best they could.'

An FAA investigation is under way to attempt to determine the exact cause.

Tom said he had flown in the plane to Joseph, for a backpacking trip, two weeks ago and the plane 'was running great.' They purchased the plane in August from a private party in North Carolina, and Kyle flew it back to Oregon with Miller.

Tom said they had the plane inspected before buying it and it had been properly maintained.

Kyle grew up in Lake Oswego and attended Westridge Elementary School and Waluga Junior High School. He went to Lakeridge and Lake Oswego high schools. He recently had been attending Life Pacific College in San Dimas, Calif. In January, Kyle had taken a semester off to help care for his mother, who had cancer and died Aug. 7.

Kyle enjoyed outdoor recreation such as motorcycles, riding four-wheelers, and backpacking.

'He was really a hands-on kind of guy,' Tom said. 'He was a talented kid.'

Kyle loved sports, especially youth football beginning in third grade. He also played soccer, basketball, lacrosse and baseball.

In addition to being fascinated with planes and motorcycles, Kyle was active in his local church, South Lake Foursquare, and his church in Los Angeles while in college. He was planning to one day marry his girlfriend of four years, Courtney Sapp, Wilsonville.

'He was a very caring person with a big heart and enjoyed spending time with his extended family and friends,' Tom said. 'He always had a special place in his heart for the elderly and young kids.'

Kyle has two brothers, 22-year-old Jared, a junior at Oregon State University and 17-year-old Curtis, a senior at Lake Oswego High School.

A service will be held for Houghton at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at Rolling Hills Community Church, 3550 S.W. Borland Road, Tualatin.