Three US Highland partners killed in plane crash

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mats-malmberg.jpgThe managing director, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of US Highland were killed in a plane crash Saturday night. Mats Malmberg (pictured), Damian Riddoch and Chase Bales were three of five partners in the Oklahoma-based motorcycle manufacturer. Highland was founded by Malmberg in Sweden, but the company moved its manufacturing base to Oklahoma only recently.

The small plane was piloted by Bales and the three men were the only killed when it crashed en route to Tulsa International Airport around 10 PM. Reports indicate that Bales radioed that he was low on fuel shortly before the crash.

via Tulsa World  Thanks for the tip, John.

  • richmeyer

    Bummer. Godspeed guys.

  • Chris

    I’m not familiar with the company put this is surely a tragedy.My condolences to the family and friends.

  • gregorbean

    That’s horrible. I’ve often thought about how there are no prominent dirtbike makers in the US. I had no idea this company existed. Sad story. Hopefully the company lives on and their dreams can be fulfilled by other people. Both of those US built powerplants look pretty awesome. Anyone ridden one of these?

  • Isaac

    As a former Air Traffic Controller, I feel for these guys. This is very tragic and something a guy like me never wants to experience on his RADAR and hear on his radio. It really sucks when you can’t help someone. And it sucks even more when people leave behind families. My heart goes out to them.

  • Epyx

    This is really sad. Not only for the obvious loss of life, but this company was on the verge of doing some great things. Hopefully the company will be able to live on but with the loss they incurred it seems doubtful.

    For those that don’t know, this company has a very innovative approach to manufacturing. Basically everything was built to order and customized to the customer’s needs. They had a full line of Motocross, Supermotos, Quads, Enduros, and even a cool street tracker.

    Just recently Highland announced new electric hub motor to help them expand into electric bikes as well.

    Everything was being built in Tulsa, OK – even the motors. Take a moment and read about the progress this company was making; hopefully there was some depth in the ranks and they can recover.

  • Epyx

    From the Highland webpage:

    US Highland Enters Into Discussions with Significant Global OEM

    Tulsa, OK – April 19, 2010 – US Highland (UHLN.OB) announced today that management has reached tentative agreement with a large global OEM for the license of Highland motor technology and is in joint venture discussions for the manufacture of privately branded motorcycles. These agreements could extend US Highland global sales beyond 20,000 units per year and result in an exponential increase in US Highland’s revenue stream within the next two years.

    Could this be the Buell Blast replacment?

  • georGe aka-VintageWrencher

    Sad to read this,go easy guys.
    I’ve been following the progress of this company for a while now,hope that this tragic loss doesnt adversly effect the companies potential.

  • PeteP

    Dammit. What a waste. Pilot error-running low on fuel.

    Their bikes showed real promise, too.

  • AJ

    Motorcyclist just did an article on this company I was very hopeful that they would do well in OK. The v twin they developed looked like a real winner ,what a terrible accident. I wonder if eric buell could step in to lend a hand.

    • The Grudz

      I as well just read this article last night. It filled me with a real sense of hope for the future of American-made motorcycles. This is a terrible accident on all accounts.

      • Roman

        Yeah, read that article too. Been hearing about the company for a couple years now, they seemed to be on the verge of doing some interesting things. Just a terrible tragedy in so many ways. May they all rest in peace.

  • sburns2421

    This is a terrible tragedy for their families.

    I’m personally not big on private aviation anyway. Too dangerous (yes I understand the irony that I ride a motorcycle). So many things out of the pilot’s control can cause a crash and in most cases no one survives. Despite the best efforts of responsible owners/pilots it just seems to me the risk is not worth the convenience.

    FWIW, I’m also not big on commercial aircraft either but fly when I have to.

  • JDW

    Horrible news – Especially to the General Aviation (GA) community. We hate to lose one of our own.

  • http://www.tripleclamp.net Sasha Pave

    Tragic, horrible news. RIP Mats, Damian and Chase.

  • Robert

    :( QQ

  • Gary Smith South Africa

    Cheers Mats, from Gary Smith, the South African guy from England who used to sell your bikes in the UK 10 years ago and used to come riding with you in forests in Sweden around your original factory and who inmported 3 of the very first bikes you made in 2003 into Africa and still to this day owns and rides his own one in South Africa. I wll always remeber the times at your house up in the woods in the snow in Sweden.

    Have fun in that big bike playground in the sky.

    Gary Smith
    Bikes and Quads and Things and Stuff Magazine
    bikesandquadsmagazine@vodamail.co.za
    South Africa

  • Darmah Bum

    Such a tragedy. I was just reading about them in Motorcyclist Mag and the progress they were making on their new bikes. My condolences go out to all their loved ones and family. Very, very sad.