A pilot is dead after his experimental aircraft crashed in central Minnesota.

Stearns County authorities say police were notified about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday that the pilot of a single-engine experimental plane had not returned after being seen earlier in the day at the Sauk Centre airport.

The pilot reportedly had planned to stay near the airport to practice takeoffs and landings. Searchers tried to pinpoint the plane's location but because of poor weather, could not conduct an aerial search.

A ground search located the man's downed plane Wednesday morning about 6 miles south of the airport. WJON-AM reports the pilot — identified as 50-year-old Matthew Skwira of Rice — was dead at the scene.
Federal authorities are investigating.