Captain Jeff “Tebo” Kropf, 45, of Halsey, and Timothy Dean Carter, 46, of Portland were killed in a Vans RV-6 Single Engine Airplane, crash on Highway 226 and Brewster Road on Nov. 26.
Kropf is known to many in Lebanon and throughout the mid-valley for the
Young Eagles flights he gave out of LebanAir Aviation.
“I know he was a good, safe Pilot,” said Ernie Kropf of his brother.
“One of his favorite things to do was give free Young Eagles flights.”
Jeff Kropf had set a goal to give 200 Young Eagle flights this year.
Larry Knox of LebanAir Aviation said Kropf was just three short of that
goal before the crash.
Kropf was the passenger, Knox said, in the plane that went down at about
Dawn McUne witnessed the plane going down while travelling north on
Brewster Road to take her children to 4-H.
“It made a spiral down and crashed into the field,” McUne said.
She said she and other drivers had pulled over after seeing the accident.
“One gentleman quickly jumped over the fence (to help),” McUne said.
She called her husband Russ McUne first because the plane went down close
to their home, then called 911.
“Our house is just right there and I knew he would get there a lot quicker,”
Dawn McUne said.
Russ McUne, an emergency room doctor at Samaritan Albany General Hospital,
was at home working in the barn, he said.
He had his headphones on and didn’t hear the crash, he said.
“I drove up there pretty fast,” Russ McUne said. “There were a couple of
people already out there. I asked if there was anyone in there. It was clear
there were fatalities.”
McUne identified himself as a physician to authorities when they arrived,
and stayed on scene for about an hour.
“It was definitely clear it was
instant, (they were) killed on impact,” Russ McUne said.
“It was very sad,” he added. “Especially to find out who they were. The
guy who does all these flights with children, I’m glad there wasn’t a kid
Knox said LebanAir Aviation proudly footed the bill for the Young Eagle
“We got him through his commercial license earlier in the year,” Knox said.
“We wanted him to be there because he could teach young people what aviation
was all about and how wonderful it is.”
Kropf’s death is a loss to those who knew him and to the aviation community,
“His love of life on this earth was flying,” Knox said. “He did it with
wonderful finesse. His whole world was teaching youngsters.”
Knox said Kropf was like a son to him.
“There’s never been a young man that’s ever brought the light into life with more class,” he said.
Carter was the owner the Vans RV-6 single engine airplane, Linn County
Undersheriff Bruce Riley said. He had a private pilot license.
Riley said it has not been confirmed Carter was piloting the plane.
“Carter landed the plane when he arrived at the Lebanon airport,” Riley said. “We do not know for sure who was piloting the plane when it crashed.”
The plane has dual controls, so either person could have been piloting the plane, Riley said.
It may take months for the National Transportation Safety Board to come up with a probable cause of the accident, said Allen Kenitzer, communications manager for the Federal Aviation Administration.
While the FAA and NTSB are investigating this accident, the NTSB is the lead investigative agency, Kenitzer said.
Kenitzer said private small planes generally do not have black boxes on them.