Published: May 26, 2005
By PAUL DAQUILANTE
Of The News-Register
HILLSBORO - The powerful twin-engine turboprop that
crashed Tuesday on takeoff from the Hillsboro Airport,
killing a Yamhill County couple and a Washington County
couple, was on a flight that originated out of its home
base in McMinnville.
Pilot Mychal McCartney, 60, and his wife, Pam, 58,
residents of the section of rural Hillsboro lapping into
northern Yamhill County, died with their close friends,
Art and Jean Pogrell of the Washington County community
of Cedar Mill. The four were on a dinner outing to Salem
when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff.
The McCartneys, whose home was off Bald Peak Road,
owned Max Aviation & Development Co., located northwest
Mychal McCartney, registered owner of the Mitsubishi
MU-2 involved in the crash, bought and sold planes and
developed and operated car washes through the family
company. Pam McCartney worked for Tri-Met, metropolitan
Portland's transit system, until her retirement in 2001.
McCartney had 17,000 hours of flight time, including
many hours in a series of Mitsubishis, which feature a
40-foot wingspan. However, the powerful, high-speed
plane is notoriously difficult to fly.
Linda Henderson and her husband, Don, had been
invited along on the outing, but passed on the
opportunity because she feels uneasy about flying in
private planes - even one as large as the MU-2, which
seats six comfortably and up to nine in a pinch.
She didn't pay much attention when news broke about a
plane crashing near Hillsboro, not immediately making
the connection. When she learned what plane it was, she
could hardly think of anything else.
"It's the kind of thing that takes your breath away,"
the Aloha resident told The Oregonian on Wednesday.
"They invited us to go along, but we said no because I
don't like flying on small planes."
Mychal McCartney, Don Henderson and Art Pogrell, a
68-year-old entrepreneur, were all Royal Rosarians - the
official ambassadors of Portland's Rose Festival.
Pogrell's wife, Jean, 64, worked for Bank of America.
"We were all good friends," Linda Henderson told The
Oregonian. "We went out to dinner a lot. We were all
Federal investigators said it could take months to
determine why the 32-year-old plane crashed. Initial
indications, they said, show the turboprop lost power in
its left engine moments after lifting off the runway in
McMinnville about 5:50 p.m.
Investigators said McCartney had purchased the craft
less than a month ago and decided to use McMinnville
Municipal Airport as its home base. After leaving
McMinnville, they said, he and his wife stopped in
Hillsboro to pick up the Pogrells.
The crash occurred upon takeoff. The plane failed to
gain sufficient altitude and went down.
"It could possibly be a loss of power in one engine,"
said Debra J. Eckrote, a senior air safety investigator
for the National Transportation Safety Board, after
getting her first look at the wreckage Wednesday. "I
don't see a lot of power in the left engine."
Eckrote said witnesses reported seeing the plane roll
to the left before spiraling into the ground, a clue the
left engine had failed.
According to federal reports, the 1973 Mitsubishi had
been involved in two serious incidents early in its
One of them, in 1979, stemmed from a landing gear
problem. The other, in 1982, stemmed from failure of the
The Oregonian quoted a Texas lawyer specializing in
aviation cases as saying he considers the MU-2 "the most
dangerous twin-engine turboprop airplane every made."
Given its extensive crash record, he said, it shouldn't
He told The Oregonian: "There is a window from the
time the aircraft departs the ground. If there is an
engine failure, it is virtually impossible to keep the
airplane from flipping over and crashing."
And engine failures are by no means unknown in the
MU-2. Nor are other problems.
According to National Transportation Safety Board
records, more than 200 people have died in more than 180
accidents in models of the MU-2.