Dr. Richard Line, a dentist in Fairfax City for 21 years and a resident of Oakton, Va., died in a private plane crash near Carlisle, Pa. Sunday night. He was 55.

Born in Carlisle, Dr. Line attended Dickinson College there for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1942. He was commissioned as a first lieutenant.

He then received fighter pilot training with members of Great Britain's Royal Air Force and other American pilots in Florida and Oklahama, and was one of the first American pilots to receive Royal Air Force wings.

Dr. Line flew combat missions in the China-Burma-India theater and for eight months in 1949 piloted flights in the Berline Airlift.

After retiring from the Air Force as a captain in 1950, Dr. Line resumed his studies at Tulsa University and in 1956 he received his dental degree from the University of Kansas School of Dentistry.

Since 1956, Dr. Line practised dentistry in Fairfax City.

He is survived by his wife, Lura, and two daughters, Lorraine and Melanie, all of the home in Oakton; a son, Dr. Richard V. Line, of Winchester, Va.; three brothers, Henry and James of Carlisle, Pa., and Lemuel, of Philadelphia; and a sister, Harriette Thompson, of Charlotte, N.C.