Missing Pilot Remembered By Family

By: Daniel Chanin Email
By: Daniel Chanin Email

On Saturday afternoon, Clayton Beck's family got word that the 37-year-old's missing plane had been located.

Now, they're coming together to remember a man they're calling a loving husband, father and mentor.

David Beck's family has accepted the fact that the body found next to his plane Saturday is the 37-year-old.

Beck's father Craig says his son grew up idolizing his grandpa, Don Beck, who was killed in a plane crash in 1991.

"He loved his grandpa," says Clayton's father Craig. "He wanted to have a high performance plane like Don Beck."

Flying planes is a hobby that's run deep in the Beck family for generations. Craig Beck says it started with his father Don who won several national championships during a prolific racing career.

Clayton Beck got his first taste of the air at the tender age of six, when his father sewed on a little harness to his hang glider.

"We'd fly for miles and miles," says Craig. "We'd go up to 18 thousand feet together and laugh and have fun. And then we'd land and he'd be a part of all the big guys."

Pretty soon Clayton was flying planes on his own and according to his father, becoming very skilled along the way. Investigators are trying to figure out why such a talented pilot lost control outside of the Truckee-Tahoe Airport. But after seeing the crash site himself, Craig Beck thinks he knows the answer.

"He was within 30-40 feet of making the ridge and landing right into the Sierraville and right in the position. We had another witness who heard the engine sputtering a few miles from there and saw him fly over. He had an engine failure and that plane comes down like a rock cause it's not a sail plane."

Several members of the Beck family gathered at the Carnelian Bay home where Clayton grew up.

The former ski instructor leaves behind a wife, and two sons; the youngest, Parker is just three weeks old.

Craig Beck says the death of his first born Clayton is more than just the loss of a child.

"Clay was the best man I ever knew," Craig said with tears welling in his eyes. "I'm nothing compared to him."

In addition to teaching Olympians at Alpine Meadows, Clayton Beck was also a word class athlete who is the current national longboarding champion.

The family is inviting the public to attend a memorial service in Beck's honor, which will be held Sunday at the Kings Beach Conference Center, July 13th, from 11 to 2 p.m.

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