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Pilot in Stevens Point plane crash was an experienced flyer from Menomonie

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The Yakovlev Yak-55 is a single seat aerobatic aircraft. Pilots flying the Yak-55 have won several world aerobatic championships.  Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Yakovlev Yak-55 is a single seat aerobatic aircraft. Pilots flying the Yak-55 have won several world aerobatic championships. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE:  The name of the pilot has been released.  He was 47-year-old William M. Cowden of Menomonie.  Cowden was an experienced pilot that flew F16's in the military and was a commercial airline pilot.

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- A fatal crash ended the Stevens Point Air Show early Sunday.

Police and Fire Department responders were called at 12:20 p.m. Police Sergeant Tony Babl says the crash happened just east of the airport.  “The single plane was performing aerial maneuvers when it went down in a wooded area approximately 1000 feet east of the Airport runway. The 47-year-old pilot was pronounced dead at the scene. He was a scheduled performer for this year’s air show. The pilot’s name is not being released at this time.”

The plane was a 1993 YAK-55M.  Babl confirms that the plane was part of the air show, but did not release the pilot’s name.  “It is a male pilot. There was only one person in the plane at the time.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct the crash investigation. Stevens Point Police have secured the area until they arrive.

The crash site is close to a section of the Green Circle walking and biking trail, and that portion of the trail is closed until further notice.

The air show ended immediately after the crash. The airport reopened for regular flight activity at 4:00 p.m.

Stevens Point Police encourage anyone that was at the air show and has video of the plane to contact them, as the footage may help federal officials in their investigation.  

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