The McKinney community is mourning the death of a teenager killed in a plane crash earlier this week.
Gabriel Hatton, 17, of McKinney was piloting the fixed wing single-engine Cessna 150G when it crashed Monday night in northwest Arkansas.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Hatton was the only person on board. The aircraft was found in a wooded area after a witness reported seeing the plane crash and called 911.
Investigators said the plane had taken off from Drake Field and was headed to Texas.
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Hatton graduated from McKinney Boyd High School in May and earned his pilot's license.
His family said he fell in love with aviation when he was 8-years-old and dreamed of becoming a commercial pilot and traveling the world.
"You say the sky's the limit and obviously for him, it wasn't even the limit, it was his playground," said his mother Amarillys Hatton. "It's where he loved to be."
Hatton spent a lot of time with the "Tango Thirty One Aero Clube" based at the Aero Country Airport in West McKinney. The non-profit teaches teenagers everything about aviation.
His parents said they have been comforted by the outpouring of love and support from those who knew their son.
"We knew he had an impact, but it's only in times like this that you get to see how someone lived," said Clint Hatton.
Hatton taught himself how to play guitar, enjoyed photography and took to the skies as much as possible. His mother said he lived his strong Christian faith by example.
"Even just by the way he lived, he inspired other people to want to pursue their dreams & to want to do it with high integrity," said Amarillys Hatton.
His parents said they are leaning heavily on their faith and hope to inspire others to live like Hatton - big, bold and brave.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are both investigating to determine what caused the plane to crash.