Denver man was owner of small plane that crashed in Newton

The owner of a small single-engine plane that crashed Sunday night near Newton was identified Monday as James B. Thomas of Denver, N.C.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene of the crash Monday morning in a wheat field off Balls Creek School Road in Catawba County, about 50 miles northwest of Charlotte.

The pilot was the only person aboard the plane, a Stolp Starduster, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Friends of Thomas told WSOC TV that Thomas had taken off from a grass field at a small airport about 4 miles away from the crash site.

The single-engine plane is often used in stunt flying, and witnesses said the plane appeared to making maneuvers when it stalled and crashed. Both wings apparently came off the home-built aircraft during the crash.