ALBANY, Ore. -- The two men who were in the small plane that crashed near Albany Monday died doing what they loved, friends told KGW.

The experimental plane crashed into a field about nine miles east of Albany after a wing fell off during flight, according to deputies with the Linn County Sheriff's Office.

The victims were identified as 46-year-old pilot Timothy Dean Carter, of Portland, and 45-year-old Jeff Earl Kropf, of Halsey (Both men pictured, right). Carter was a licensed private pilot and the owner of the plane. Kropf was a commercially-licensed pilot.

The plane reportedly left Lebanon Municipal Airport around 3 p.m. for a pleasure flight and went down about 30 minutes later near Brewster Road and Highway 226.

Photos: Scene of plane crash

Kropf was the cousin of former Oregon legislator and radio talk show host of the same name Jeff Kropf. Friend Larry Knox told KGWKropf died doing what he loved.

His request was that when he died he would be cremated, and somebody would let them put the ashes in a wing of an airplane, so that he could spend the rest of his time flying around in an airplane, Knox said.

The Albany-Democrat Herald reported that Kropf was well known in the mid-Willamette Valley. He went by the name Tebo and loved to fly. Kropf, who also went by Tim Corban, was office manager at LebanAir Aviation, the paper reported.

He took nearly 200 young people on their first flights as part of the Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagles flight program, the paper reported. He also had recently taken a 101-year-old man for a free flight.

Investigation continues

Federal investigators arrived at the scene of the plane crash Tuesday, but said it could take months to figure out what caused the plane to come apart in mid-air.

Witnesses told Linn County investigators the wing came off the plane as it was turning left. Debris fell onto Highway 226 and the plane crashed into a nearby field. Investigators said both men were killed on impact.

It's so twisted up, said neighbor Roy Hockett. I'm a licensed pilot. I can't even tell what kind of plane it is.

The FAA said it was an RV-6 single-engine experimental plane that crashed. That models are home-built from a kit provided by Van's Aircraft of Aurora, Ore. This one was completed in 1996.

The Oregon Department of Transportation closed Highway 226 due to crash debris on the roadway, and it remained closed for about five hours during the investigation.


KGWReporters Collette Wieland and Abbey Gibb contributed to this report.

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