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NTSB finds no mechanical problems with stunt plane in fatal crash

Plane crash graphic (properly sized)
Plane crash graphic (properly sized)

STEVENS POINT, WI (WTAQ) - A stunt plane did not have any mechanical problems just before it crashed at the Stevens Point Air Show, killing its pilot.

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a preliminary report about the June 1st crash.

47-year-old William Cowden of Menomonie died while performing maneuvers with his Yakovlev YAK-55-M aircraft. Investigators said the plane rotated more than 3 times before it flew straight down and formed a two-and-a-half foot crater in the ground.

Damage to the 3 propeller blades indicated that the engine was running at the time. The NTSB did not say what caused the crash.

A final ruling is expected to be months away. Investigators still plan to review more data and video -- including a hand-held GPS and a Go-Pro video camera that were operational during the flight.

Cowden spent two dozen years as a military and commercal pilot. He was buried with full military honors last week at a veterans' cemetery near Spooner.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)