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Pilot dies in plane crash on way to Wisconsin air show

KERKHOVEN -- A flying enthusiast from west-central Minnesota known for his good humor and love for friends has died in a plane crash in Wisconsin's La Crosse County.

KERKHOVEN -- A flying enthusiast from west-central Minnesota known for his good humor and love for friends has died in a plane crash in Wisconsin’s La Crosse County.

Loren Larson, 56, of Kerkhoven, died Thursday when the Mooney M-20 plane he was flying crashed in a cornfield in the northern portion of the county, according to information released by the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department.

The accident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

He was the only person aboard the plane.

The Minneapolis Air Traffic Control alerted authorities in La Crosse of a missing plane at 12:13 p.m. on Thursday, according to the La Crosse Tribune. The paper reported that the plane’s flight log indicated that at 11:37 a.m. the plane was flying 181 miles per hour at 4,700 feet, and then dropped 1,200 feet in two minutes.

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Larson had been planning to land at the airport in La Crosse to pick up a friend. They were destined for the Appleton (Wis.) International Airport as part of plans to attend the Experimental Aircraft Aviation airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Larson had more than 20 years of experience as a pilot, according to his brother and sister-in-law, Lynn and Shellie Larson of DeGraff. Shellie said that Larson had a passion for flying. He kept a hangar at the airport in Willmar, Minn., and is well known in the area’s flying community.

“He was bubbly all the time,’’ Shellie Larson said.

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