Fallbrook man dead in solo plane crash in Sonoma County

Wife reported 75-year-old pilot was overdue home

(KGTV) -- The 75-year-old pilot who was killed when his small passenger plane crashed in Northern California Friday night has been identified as Carl Morrison of Fallbrook. 

Sonoma County Sheriff's Office responded to a call from the US Air Force at about 6:40 p.m. reporting an emergency transponder activation from a small passenger plane in the city of Petaluma, about 40 miles north of San Francisco.  

Deputies were dispatched to the location but were unable to locate the plane.

"Around the same time, a woman from San Diego County had called Petaluma PD and reported her husband was overdue home," said Sgt. Spencer Crum of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

Shortly after 10:00 PM deputies spotted a small fire in a remote ravine near the 3600 block of Manor Lane, Crum said. 

Deputies reached the location of the fire and discovered the downed aircraft and the body of a man believed to be the pilot.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

Morrison was believed to have left the Petaluma Airport en route to San Diego County in his Mooney M20 fix winged airplane, the sheriff's office said.

Bob Morrison, Carl Morrison's oldest son, said that Carl Morrison was a retired U.S. Marine who served twenty years. He was also the Region Vice Commander of the Fallbrook Senior Squadron 87 Civil Air Patrol. He served with them since 2006.

In addition to being a father of six, he was a lawyer who owned an environmental consulting company, Bob Morrison said. He was in Northern California on business, returning home, when his plane crashed. 

Bob Morrison said his father had been flying for 20 years, which was a lifelong dream of his. 

"He left his mark wherever he went in a positive way," Bob Morrison said.

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