Further investigation needed to determine why it detached

Just before a fatal aircraft crash near Crabtree last week, a witness saw a wing fold up on the plane during the middle of a turn, according to a federal preliminary report released Monday.

The wing apparently hit the canopy, shattering the glass and sending debris below, said National Transportation Safety Board aerospace engineer Van McKenny.   

“The airplane then rapidly descended to the ground,” the report states.

The wing was found on Highway 226. The plane wreckage was about 1,000 feet south in a field off Brewster Road, according to the preliminary report.

In between was an area of glass shards.

The brief document didn’t detail why the wing detached from the plane.

Later this month, experts from the NTSB will do a follow-up examination of the airplane, and that could provide vital data, McKenny said.

“We are still gathering data, still in the investigation mode. We haven’t made any determinations yet as to why the wing departed the airplane,” McKenny said.

The next report out will be the final factual report, which should be completed in about a year.

“If during the process of the investigation, we identify any safety issues (with the plane model), we will address those immediately,” McKenny said.

Jeff “Tebo” Kropf, 45, of Halsey and Timothy Dean Carter, 46,  of Portland were killed in the crash.

The RV6 kit plane, owned by Carter, had been heavily modified, according to the airplane’s manufacturer.

Kyle Odegard covers public safety for the D-H. He can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or kyle.odegard@lee.net.

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