(FALCON, Colo.) — Family members are grieving the loss of Carl Benda, the 56-year-old pilot who was identified as the person killed in a plane crash Saturday, Aug. 5 near Meadow Lake Airport.
His brother-in-law, John Fryman, explained the passion the two had for aviation and how it lead them to becoming roommates.
“We attended Colorado Aero Tech in 1989,” Fryman said. “So, that’s when I knew he had a love for aviation. We both became airframe powerplant mechanics at the same time, went to the same class, graduated together, became roommates and really good friends over the years and that’s how he met my sister.”
Benda would marry Fryman’s sister and the two would turn from friends into family.
“They got married a year or two later… I was the best man at his wedding, and we just have been really close friends for a long time,” said Fryman.
John’s wife Kimberly shared the positive spirit which one could instantly feel from Benda.
“Everybody liked Carl… Carl was somebody you wanted to be around,” Kimberly said. “It was fun to be around Carl and you knew that you had a friend that you could count on. Carl, we knew that his family members, that if we needed something, Carl would be there in a moment’s notice if he was able to be, and it was really wonderful lately because he can be there on an airplane.”
Kimberly and John Fryman live in East Texas and share the moments when Benda would come to visit them and fly planes for all to enjoy.
“This is a small town of about 500 people and the entire community comes out for this because the school is the centerpoint of these small rural communities,” said Kimberly. “Everyone stopped and looked up and there was a collective gasp and ‘whoa,’ because here come these two loud, cool, military-looking aircrafts right over the main part of our little shop downtown.”
It is the happy memories of Benda which fill John and Kimberly’s hearts.
“The people that he met and became friends with knew that you had a friend that was just fun to be around, and a friend that would give the shirt off his back for you if he could,” said Kimberly.
John shared how Benda loved to mentor young aviation enthusiasts, and said he hopes to honor his legacy by inspiring future pilots. He referred to the Young Eagles program, which can be found online.
The power of flight is clear with an outpouring of support on social media for the everlasting impact Benda had.
“It’s wonderful that there are so many people that are getting to know what an incredible person he was,” said Kimberly. “I wish it was under different circumstances, but for so many people to share their own personal accounts of what it was like to be Carl’s friend, is going to give insight into the world of what an incredible man that we lost because he was a friend of a lot of people and meant a lot to a lot of people.”