UPDATE: Pilot memorialized at Menomonie Air Fest

UPDATED Monday, June 23, 2014 --- 9:34 a.m.

MENOMONIE, Wis. (AP) -- A pilot who lost his life when his plane crashed in central Wisconsin is remembered at his hometown's air show.

William Cowden was scheduled to perform Sunday at the Menomonie Air Fest. Instead his friends in aviation and family members reflected on his passion for flying.

Air Fest manager Jeff Overby says the 47-year-old Cowden was a coach, mentor and good friend. WAOW-TV (http://bit.ly/1nXTYf1 ) says red, white and blue balloons were released in his memory. The Menomonie Honor Guard also gave him a 21-gun salute.

Cowden died when his plane crashed during his routine at the Stevens Point Air Show three weeks ago.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, June 3, 2014

FARGO, N.D. (AP) -- The pilot who died when his aerobatic plane crashed at a Wisconsin air show was a former F-16 pilot with the North Dakota Air National Guard in Fargo

Authorities say 47-year-old William Cowden of Menomonie, Wisconsin, was killed while performing aerial stunts at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport on Sunday.

KFGO radio reports that Cowden retired from the North Dakota Air National Guard in 2006 with the rank of major. He later became a commercial pilot for Delta Air Lines.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, June 2, 2014 --- 10:43 a.m.

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) -- The pilot who died when his aerobatic plane crashed at a Wisconsin air show was an experienced commercial aviator who also flew in the military.

Police say 47-year-old William Cowden, of Menomonie, was performing aerial stunts at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport Sunday afternoon when he crashed in a wooded area. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

Cowden told a Stevens Point Journal Media reporter (http://spjour.nl/1pM9R86 ) before he began the show that he flew F-16s in the U.S. Air Force and later became a commercial pilot for Delta Air Lines. Cowden said he started flying aerobatic planes because it rekindled the thrill he got from flying F-16s.

Police say the crash scene has been turned over to federal investigators.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Sunday, June 1, 2014 --- 4:48 p.m.

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) -- Stevens Point police say a small plane crashed while performing aerial maneuvers at an airshow, killing the 47-year-old pilot.

The crash happened Sunday about 12:20 p.m. at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport. Police say the plane went down in a wooded area about 1,000 feet east of the airport runway.

The pilot's name hasn't been released.

Police say they secured the scene until officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board arrive to conduct their investigation.

Melvin Burskey of Neenah was at the show. He tells Stevens Point Journal Media he couldn't believe what he saw. He says there was a puff of smoke and then the plane went down.

The airshow was scheduled to include aerobatic performances and World War II aircraft displays.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Sunday, June 1, 2014 --- 2:51 p.m.

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) -- A plane has crashed at the Stevens Point Airshow, and officials have closed the airport and dismissed the crowds.

The crash happened Sunday afternoon at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport. There was no immediate word on the extent of any casualties.

A WAOW report says the plane was performing an aerial trick when it went down behind a row of trees.

Melvin Burskey of Neenah was at the show. He tells Stevens Point Journal Media he couldn't believe what he saw. He says there was a puff of smoke and then the plane went down.

The airshow was scheduled to include aerobatic performances and World War II aircraft displays.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Sunday, June 1, 2014 --- 2:14 p.m.

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) -- A plane has crashed at the Stevens Point Airshow, and officials have closed the airport and dismissed the crowds.

The crash happened Sunday afternoon at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport. There was no immediate word on the extent of any casualties.

A WAOW report says the plane was performing an aerial trick when it went down behind a row of trees.

The investigation will be led by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

A Stevens Point Journal Media report says the events scheduled for the airshow included aerobatic performances and World War II aircraft displays.

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Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 --- 1:43 p.m.

From our news partner WSAW in Wausau:

WSAW is getting reports of a plane crash at the Stevens Point Air Show.

A witness tells NewsChannel 7 the crash happened shortly after noon Sunday. He said the pilot was flying when all of the sudden the plane went straight down into the woods.

Nothing is being confirmed yet, but people on scene are saying a number of agencies appear to be responding, including a medical helicopter.

We have no word yet on the condition of the pilot. We are hearing the air show has been canceled.


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