SHAWNEE, Kan. – Nearly four years after her sister died in a crash, a metro woman is choosing to save the airplane her sister was piloting.
“We are what you call Irish twins,” Cathy Gordon said of her sister Elizabeth McGhee. “Historically we try to always be together, and she was flying her for our birthdays and never landed.”
McGhee — a veterinarian, a mother of nine, a wife and older sister — was on her way from Michigan to visit Gordon in Kansas.
“We were actually waiting at the downtown airport for her to land, and it was the very first time I ever did the flight tracker,” Gordon said. “I pulled up the flight tracker and made my screen big, and I saw she wasn’t moving.”
Somewhere in Ray County, Missouri, McGhee had gone off course on a cold November night in 2015.
The guy at the airport called it in to air officials while Gordon and her husband called the Ray County Sheriff’s Office and jumped in the car.
“They went, ‘Oh yeah, we did hear of a plane, but we don’t know anything.’ Nobody called it in,” Gordon said. “We were driving around looking for her plane and it was pitch black.”
McGhee’s plane went down in a field. It would be her final flight.
“She had no power, no lights. It was very dark. There was no moon, and a tree got in the way when she was trying to land in a field. It was her time,” Gordon said.
Almost four years later, she learned last week the investigation is finished.
“The NTSB and FAA were looking into maybe what caused the flight to go down, what caused her power failure, and they couldn’t find a cause,” Gordon said.
The plane, which was been stored by investigators in Nebraska, was then Gordon’s to come and get.
This weekend, that’s exactly what she did.
“One of the kids said, ‘I want that propeller, can I have it? Can I have the tail number?’” Gordon said of her nieces and nephews. “And so, that was my primary reason to get that plane back. We put it on some land that we have here in KCK, and we’re going to store it until they can come down and take whatever they want.”
Cathy said with no official answer and no cited reason for the crash, she and her family can say their final goodbyes with the airplane resting securely here with family in Kansas.