Yak Pilot Killed at Wisconsin Airshow

Aerobatic pilot was former U.S. fighter pilot.

Bill Cowden Yak-55M Stevens Point Air Show

Bill Cowden Yak-55M Stevens Point Air Show

Bill Cowden and his Yak-55M in 2013.
(Stevens Point Air Show)
Geoff Sobering

A former F-16 pilot died on Sunday when his 1993 Yak-55M crashed during an aerobatic performance at Stevens Point Air Show in Wisconsin.

Video of the accident shows the airplane in a downward spiral before it crashed into a wooded area approximately 1,000 feet from the runway. Pilot Bill Cowden, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cowden formerly flew F-16s in the North Dakota Air National Guard before going on to work for Delta Air Lines. He reportedly became interested in aerobatics because it gave him a thrill similar to that provided by flying F-16s.

Cowden had approximately 7,000 hours of flight time before the crash. The airport was closed in the wake of the accident, which occurred around 12:20 p.m. local time.

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