Vintage aircraft crashes, killing 2; Pilot remembered for performing at Airsho, helping veterans

Jennifer Robison/The Highlander
Pilot Cowden Ward Jr. takes flight in his P-51 Mustang "Pecos Bill" at the 2017 Bluebonnet Airsho in Burnet. Ward and a passenger, World War II veteran Vincent Losada, 93, of San Antonio, were killed when the vintage airplane crashed in Fredericksburg while taking part in a re-enactment flight on Saturday, Nov. 17.

 

 

 

 

By Richard Zowie

Staff Writer

The Highlander

A Burnet resident and founder of Pecos Bill P-51 Freedom Flyers died Nov. 17 in Fredericksburg when his P-51 airplane crashed near an apartment complex on the tourist town's east side.

According to AV Web, Cowden Ward Jr. was flying the vintage World War II plane in a reenactment flight and was believed to have had a passenger who was a World War II pilot. Both he and passenger Vincent Losada, 93, of San Antonio, were killed.

The crash occurred around 3:16 p.m. on Saturday at Friendship Place Apartments, at 707 South Creek Street in Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg Fire EMS, Fredericksburg Police Department, Gillespie County Sheriff’s Department, and Texas Department of Public Safety were dispatched.

According to a City of Fredericksburg press release, no bystanders were injured, and residents of the apartments were later allowed back into the complex.

The aviation website also reported that several cars were destroyed, and the crash also damaged a parking shelter. Witnesses told police they heard the aircraft's engine sputtering before the crash.

The cause of the crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Officials said Ward was giving rides to veterans, in support of a reenactment ceremony that day at the National Museum of the Pacific War, a war which focuses on the Pacific Campaign of World War II.

Well wishers on Facebook commended Ward for his efforts to honor countless veterans, including those who served in WWII, through his flights.

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who commanded the Navy's Pacific Fleet, was born in Fredericksburg. At his request, the Pacific War Museum was dedicated to all those who served in the Pacific theater of WWII.

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