nvdaily.com link to home page

Traffic | Weather | Mobile Edition
      Subscribe | Special Sections

Local News arrow Edinburg arrow Shenandoah County

| 1

Crash victim loved to fly

Jason Long (Buy photo)

Jason Long died after plane hit helicopter Friday

By Preston Knight -- pknight@nvdaily.com

EDINBURG -- Jason Long appeared to have a passion for the air as much as the ground.

An accomplished runner at Central High School in the mid-1990s, Long, 32, later took to the skies, flying commercially and serving as a flight instructor. He worked in those capacities at the time of his death Friday, when the 1967 Cessna 172 he was aboard with a 19-year-old man collided with a medical helicopter near the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave. Both men died, but the three people in the helicopter survived.

"Aviation is like a family," said John Trissel, manager of Eagle's Nest Flight Services in Waynesboro. "It rocks the family when something like that happens."

Long came to Trissel's rescue in October when the business' full-time flight instructor became ill. For about a month, Long traveled from Edinburg several times a week to teach students.

"Keeping the rust off," Trissel said.

While he only knew Long for a short period of time, he said he detected an enthusiasm for flying, something that likely came from having pilots in the family and an airstrip on family property in Edinburg. Long at one point worked for Dynamic Aviation in Bridgewater, a spokeswoman said.

"He was a very accomplished instructor. He got along with everybody," Trissel said. "Everybody was complimentary. They were ecstatic to fly with him."

Rick Lytton, the longtime track coach at Central, expressed a similar regard for Long's running on Monday.

"He always looked like he enjoyed what he was doing," Lytton said. "He always had a smile on his face. Even in the hardest workouts, he would run and end up smiling."
Lytton, in his 36th year as track coach, said Long maintains three school records -- the 800-meter, 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter events.

"No one has really been close to the records that he set," he said. "I never saw him take any turn off or any run off. He always ran hard. There was a group of kids around him who did the same thing."

Long also ran cross country in high school, Lytton said. After graduating from Central in 1997, he attended James Madison University, where he was a four-time All-American runner and later named to the Colonial Athletic Association's men's track and field silver anniversary team. Long, who graduated from college in 2001, competed in the 2000 Olympic trials in the 800-meter event, according to www.caasports.com.

A person who answered a call to Long's parents' residence in Edinburg on Monday afternoon said that the family was not yet ready to publicly comment.

The plane crash occurred around 2:30 p.m. Friday, a half-mile north of the airport. A representative of the National Transportation Safety Board could not be reached for comment Monday, but the investigation could take up to a year.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters has said it appeared the helicopter was attempting to land and the Cessna was taking off when they collided. He described the airplane as a small, general aviation four-seater. State police said it was unclear who was flying the plane, which has dual controls.

The three occupants of the helicopter, which had just dropped off a patient at the University of Virginia Medical Center, were unhurt.

The Cessna's registered owner is Michael W. Price, of Elkton. He called Long "a dear friend."

"It's a great loss to me as well as the aviation community, and the community at large," Price said. "He did a lot of good for a lot of kids. ... He was a very, very good instructor."
Price was going to a family meeting for the 19-year-old victim, Jacob H. Kiser, of Grottoes, Monday night. Trissel also knew Kiser, having grown up with the teen's father.
"It was a double whammy for us," Trissel said.

The Eagle's Nest website displayed a message Monday stating that it kept both families in its thoughts and prayers.

"They will be missed!" it states.

Keep up to date on local news

Sign up here to receive Northern Virginia Daily news delivered to your email box each morning and when breaking news occurs.


Comments that are posted represent the opinion of the commenter and not the Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com. View our comments/submisssions policy. Report abuse by clicking the X next to the comment.

Local News Sections

Affordable Care Act Agency on Aging Agriculture Alex Bridges Apple Blossom Festival Automotive Aviation Basye Berryville Boyce Brad Fauber Breaking News Business Charities Cigarette Trafficking Civil War Clarke County Colleges Corrections & Clarifications Courthouse Notes: Permits, Transactions Courts & Legal News Crime & Public Safety Economy and Jobs Edinburg Education Edward N. Bell Election 2012 Election 2013 Entertainment Environment Fairs & Festivals Fire & Rescue Fishers Hill Fort Valley Frederick County Front Royal George Washington National Forest Guest Column Hard Times Health History Holidays Homes In The Spotlight Jeff Nations Joe Beck Josette Keelor Katie Demeria Kim Walter Ledger Livestock Local Markets Maurertown Media Middletown Military & Veterans Moms Mount Jackson New Market Page County Pet of the Week Pets & Animals Politics Progress 2013 Progress 2014 Quicksburg Recreation Religion Rockingham County RSW Jail Ryan Cornell School News Shenandoah County Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department Star Tannery State Stephens City Steven A. Boyce Strasburg Tommy Keeler Jr. Toms Brook Tourism Traffic & Transportation Utilities Valley 911 Warren County Weather West Virginia Winchester Woodstock Year in Review

News | Sports | Business | Lifestyle | Obituaries | Opinion | Multimedia| Entertainment | Classifieds
Contact Us | NIE | Place a Classified | Privacy Policy | Comments/Submissions Policy | Subscribe

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137

2014 Virginia Press Association Grand Sweepstakes Winner
The Best Small Daily Newspaper in Virginia!

nvdaily.com | seeshenandoah.com