Glider crash victim was en route to Truckee | SierraSun.com
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Glider crash victim was en route to Truckee

F.T. Norton, Sun news service
Courtesy photoA glider lays upside down Saturday where it crashed on Snow Valley Peak just north of Spooner Summit.
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A California man was killed when the glider he was flying toward Truckee-Tahoe Airport crashed into a peak near the east shore of Lake Tahoe, authorities said.

The body of Joe Findley, 44, of Half Moon Bay, was found Saturday on Snow Valley Peak on Lake Tahoe’s east shore, said Carson City sheriff’s Chief Deputy Scott Burau.

A search began after the veteran airline pilot failed to turn up Friday evening as scheduled at the airport in Truckee. He flew for United Airlines, KTVN-TV of Reno reported.

But the wreckage was not spotted until Saturday morning by occupants aboard a private plane, Burau said. Sheriff’s personnel then were flown by helicopter to the scene about three miles north of Spooner Summit on U.S. 50.

Findley was en route back to Tahoe-Truckee Airport after an afternoon in the air when the crash occurred, said Dean Aldinger, a spokesman for Soar Truckee, a Truckee glider service.

With the help of its tow plane, Findley’s LS-8 glider was released above the airport early Friday afternoon. He had glided south to Bishop, Calif., and was returning to Truckee when he crashed, Aldinger said.

“We’re sort of surprised over this whole thing,” he said. “I would have a hard time finding blame for this. The weather was fine. He was flying for fun yesterday, but he was a contest glider pilot. It wasn’t like he was boxed in. He had all kinds of options.”

Aldinger speculated the crash occurred Friday evening when Findley was about 15 miles from the airport.

Findley indicated no distress during his last radio contact shortly before the crash, he said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.


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