Aviation community remembers Burnet pilot who died in vintage plane crash

73-year-old Cowden Ward Jr gave his last freedom flight to veteran Vincent Losada on November 17th when his P-51 mustang crashed into a Fredericksburg apartment complex.

Ward was a well-known pilot in the aviation community. The World War II plane was affectionately named "Pecos Bill" and with it he flew more than 130 veterans for free.

Read Two killed after vintage plane crashes in Fredericksburg

His co-pilot Ray Rylander spoke fondly of Ward. "When the veterans would say thank you his response would be no thank you sir for making it possible," said Rylander. "For probably every real pilot the P-51 is your dream plane and we would be flying along just talking to each other saying Can you believe God's given us the opportunity to do this."

Saturday, war birds came together to remember Ward at the Highland Lakes Commemorative Air Force museum. As a former member, Ward went on to start his own organization called freedom flyers providing complimentary flights to thank veterans for their service.

"His passion was to help others in life and he was just a great man and he cared about others his love and generosity are the things that everyone remembers him for and that's what he was known for," Rylander said. 

His daughter Jennifer Ward said her family plans to keep Freedom Flyers alive to honor him. "We just wanted to make sure that his legacy was carried through in serving our veterans and other nations heroes," Ward said.