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Twin Cities executive identified as pilot killed

Associated Press

CRYSTAL, Minn. — A Twin Cities computer executive was identified Wednesday as the pilot who was killed trying to land a small airplane in pouring rain near Minneapolis, company officials said.

Steven Case, founder and chairman of CyberOptics Inc., was the only person aboard the plane when it crashed shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday at the Crystal Airport, officials said.

CyberOptics chief financial officer Jeffrey Bertelsen said Case, 60, of St. Louis Park, was returning from a business trip to Georgia. The single-engine Cirrus plane was owned by Laserman Inc. of Maple Grove, a medical laser service and sales company. Bertelsen said Case had arranged to use the Laserman plane.

The plane was engulfed in flames and destroyed when it crashed just after the control tower closed. Crystal Police Sgt. Rob Erkenbrack said the pilot missed the runway.

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Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan said 10 p.m. is the normal closing time for the tower, but that planes continue to take off and land when it’s closed. Hogan said there is a lot less traffic after-hours and less need for air-traffic-control services.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

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