Pilot's death 'a big loss'
Friends and colleagues of respected Wakatipu Aero Club chief pilot and instructor Julian Kramer were shocked and saddened to learn the experienced pilot had been killed in a helicopter crash between Wanaka and Queenstown last night.
Wakatipu Aero Club president Adrian Snow said the loss of Mr Kramer would leave a big gap in the club as well as the industry nationwide.
''It's very sad. It's a big loss for the club ... our biggest sympathies obviously go out to the family.''
Mr Kramer ran Air Wakatipu, the commercial division of the Wakatipu Aero Club, and was also chief pilot and instructor.
''He was a very well respected pilot and a very well respected instructor ... Often very good pilots don't make good instructors but he did.''
Pilots came from all over New Zealand and the world to fly in the mountains with Mr Kramer who had developed very good mountain flying and flight training skills, Mr Snow said.
''That is a big experience gap that will be missed by the club and its members and arguably the rest of New Zealand.''
With almost 9000 hours clocked up flying light aircraft, Mr Kramer was an experienced pilot and his death has shocked friends and colleagues, he said.
''Flying was his complete passion. There was nothing else in life for Julian except for aviation. The club is shocked and deeply saddened.''
Born and raised in Queenstown, Mr Kramer was introduced to flying as a youngster and clocked up more than 30 years' flying experience.
''His father Henry was a founding member and is a past president of the Wakatipu Aero Club ... he learnt to fly in a home built aircraft and went on to fly hang-gliders, light aircraft, helicopters and gliders,'' Mr Snow said.
The Southland Times