P.F. Beck; An extraordinary life closes – 8/28/19

Builders:

Don Harper called with the word that P.F. Beck had passed this afternoon. It was a short call. There was nothing either of us could say that would begin to express the loss of a human being like P. F.  Don, who has been close to P.F. for decades simply said “They broke the mold when they made him.” I agreed. In 30 years in aviation, I have never met another aviator with the spirit and qualities of character of P.F., and it doesn’t seem likely I ever will. If you never had a chance to meet him, it will be very hard to appreciate the loss, but trust me, it can’t be overstated.

.

.

Above, P.F. Beck in the black shirt and part of his loyal crew at Barnwell. I shot this the last hour of Corvair College #43 last november. These people brought you Nine Corvair Colleges.  – think about that; not just 20% of the Colleges held, but because of their size, 35% of the people who attended a College did so at Barnwell.  There were very detailed events, and the typical budget was over $7,000, but not a dime went to these people, they did it all as a show of South Carolina hospitality, their belief in the Corvair as an excellent way of getting more active builders in experimental aviation, and a particularly strong pride in their home airport, a facility they devoted a large part of their lives to.

.

.

Above, P.F holds The Cherry Grove Trophy in front of his Pietenpol.  This was taken at Corvair College #21.  Left to right are Joe Horton,  Dan Weseman, P.F. Beck, and Mark Langford, They were the first four of the eventual eight trophy winners.

.

.

Above, 2011, the fourth recipient of the trophy was PF Beck. We made the official presentation to P.F. at the dinner at CC#21. He eventually had hundreds of flight hours on his Corvair powered Pietenpol. Not only did he host 9 Corvair Colleges he attended a number of others He was a first class gentleman, incredibly modest, and a skilled aviator with decades of experience. For these reasons, everyone felt that he was the outstanding candidate for the Trophy in 2011.

.

For a look at the EAA film about the 2013 Barnwell College, Which has P.F. in it,  click here: New EAA video on Corvair College#27, Barnwell 2013.

.

c68788

.

Above, Brodhead 2013. P.F, was the head of forums that year. P.F.’s positive influence on homebuilding went well beyond South Carolina.  P.F. was a source of encouragement and factual information to countless builders. He made homebuilding a welcoming and friendly setting.

.

.

Above,  P F Beck, seen above in his Pietenpol, This was at CC#19, the first College we held at Barnwell. P.F. eventually flew more than 300 people in his plane.

.

.

A simple photo from Corvair College #19, with a detail that says a lot about P.F.’s personal style; If you look closely, the catering trays are almost empty. This is because at P.F.’s events, he always made certain of two things; he was always the last person in the chow line, and he lead everyone in a prayer of thanks before sitting down to eat.

.

.

Col. John Nerges, above left, thanks P.F. Beck for his flight in P.F.’s Pietenpol. These types of smiles were what being an aviator was all about to P.F.

.

Blue Skies and tailwinds P.F., you will always be missed.

.

ww.

.