Man killed in glider crash |

Man killed in glider crash

F.T. Norton
A glider lays upside down Saturday where it crashed on Snow Valley peak just north of Spooner Summit. The pilot, who holds several national titles for glider speed and distance, was killed in the crash.

A California glider pilot was killed Friday when his plane went down on the west slope of Snow Valley Peak, near Spooner Summit, authorities said Saturday.

Joe Coleman Findley, 44, of Half Moon Bay, Calif., was pronounced dead at 9:15 a.m. Saturday morning near the wreckage.

According to Chief Deputy Scott Burau of the Carson City Sheriff’s Department, Findley’s last contact with Soar Truckee was at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

“At 6:55 a.m. (Saturday) morning, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department notified our agency of a downed aircraft,” he said. “The information we received is a fixed winged glider down. A (civilian) pilot that flew over the crash site observed an individual lying near the craft.”

Carson City Sheriff’s Department investigators and fire department paramedics were flown to the scene by a Washoe County Sheriff’s Department helicopter.

Carson Search and Rescue volunteers responded by ground to secure the scene until Federal Aviation Administration investigators arrive, Burau said.

Findley’s body was removed by aircraft to the Washoe County Coroner’s office for an autopsy expected to be performed today.

Findley holds several national titles in gliding in distance and speed.

Gliders are fixed-wing aircraft without engines. The plane is towed out by a motored craft and released from the tow rope. According to Soar Truckee, depending on the weather conditions, a plane can stay up for hours. Pilots wear parachutes and must be in radio contact with Soar Truckee, who towed Findley out Friday.

“We have no idea as to what happened at this point,” Burau said. “It might be sometime before we know that.”