Pete Benning with his full-fuselage 38 Special at Sunshine Park in Roseburg. Bob Lewis photo.

Pete Benning

By Dave Shrum and Bob Lewis

Pete Benning, one of the Roseburg, Ore., area fliers, died on April 29, 2014, after a long battle with cancer.

Pete remained active in the Roseburg flying group right until the end, attending flying sessions and workshop parties. Pete was known to all as a fine gentleman and an excellent modeler.

Below are reports from Dave Shrum and Bob Lewis.

From Dave:

Pete was the first person that I started flying control-line here in Roseburg after Terry Miller passed away.  Pete was a slow builder, but he almost never crashed.

He was a good builder and flyer ! The “flyers” -- known as the” Umpqua Valley Control Line Model Airplane Flyers” are Pete Benning, then Bob Lewis, Bill Mix, Dave Mitchell (brother Dave) and Dave Crabtree (other brother Dave) and now Dr. Steve Bernard. Personally, I have been blessed to have such a great bunch of fellows to fly with.

Pete's favorite plane was the “Ares” and then his Biplanes -- all split rib! The past few weeks, Pete has been out with us at the flying field and last Friday he came to the “hangar” party at Bob’s place.

Tight lines Pete!

From Bob:

This morning (April 29) at 6:30 our dear friend and great control line enthusiast, Pete Benning, passed away suddenly and painlessly at his home with his wife Susan at his side.  

Just last night, Susan emailed me confirming Pete's plan to be out at the field Thursday, our next scheduled control line fly-in.

Susan and Pete were so happy he made it to their 50th wedding anniversary in February in spite of the odds that he would not live beyond last November. Pete is survived by two sons, one in California and one in Ohio.

Pete was one of the more avid control liners I have known.  He absolutely loved the hobby and was very expert at it.  He did not fly competitively, nor did he aspire to.  Among his strengths was his excellent building and finishing skills.

Pete specialized in "I-Beam" construction -- not recommended for the novice!  Building very light models, he was able to get a Fox .15 to fly a bigger airplane than about anybody.  He loved the Fox.15 and Fox .35.  His all-time favorite airplane might have been his Fox .35-powered Ares.  But Pete also loved biplanes and last year completed a beautiful full-bodied version of the 38 Special powered by, what else? a Fox .35.  He built a really neat little profile Beech Stagger Wing powered by a Fox .07.  He also designed and built smaller Ares spin-off versions for his Fox .15's.

Pete loved to help new converts to control line get up and going.  We still have some of his things waiting for the next novice who needs the basic equipment to get started.  Some time ago, Pete divided up the greater share of his holdings among us, his close flying buddies.  Most of us have a "Pete" airplane or engine to fly and remember him by.

Pete had previously been a model railroad enthusiast and had an estimated $1,200 in equipment which he donated to the model railroad club in Eugene.  Although never very tempted to get into Radio Control, Pete donated his ride-on lawn mower to Umpqua Valley Modelers, one of our local RC clubs that most of us control-liners belong to.  Pete was casually interested in free flight.  Having fond memories of one he built one in his youth, last fall he built another 1/2A Dakota free flight which he flew at two of the Willamette Modelers meets up near Albany.  He thoroughly enjoyed the Albany free flight meets and, though he knew he couldn't,  would dearly have loved attending again this fall.

Flying is still on for Thursday at 10:30 or 11:00 at Sunshine Park.  Pete will expect us to be there.

Pete Benning flies at Oregon Flying Fun No. 2 in February 2014. Flying Lines photo.

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This page was upated April 30, 2014