UPDATE: Investigators find no mechanical problems in UND plane crash

November 2, 2021

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal airplane crash investigators have found no mechanical problems with the plane in a crash that killed a student at the University of North Dakota’s aerospace school last month.

John Hauser, a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in commercial aviation, turned around the Piper PA-28-181 he was piloting late on Oct. 18 shortly before it crashed, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board. The report found that the plane then made a “rapid descent” before hitting the ground.

Hauser, who was from Chicago, was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was flying by himself on a night flight from Grand Forks to Fargo’s Hector International Airport. Air Traffic Control lost contact with the aircraft less than 30 minutes after it took off around 7 p.m. Local law enforcement found the wrecked plane in a field near Buxton roughly one hour after communication from the plane ceased.

The aviation school halted flights for three days after the crash so it could review safety protocols, as well as to provide counseling to fellow students and remember Hauser.

UND’s aviation school is one of the largest such programs in the country, with more than 1,800 students and 500 faculty members.