Crash re­port is re­leased

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By DEB­BIE JAMIESON

The mother of Queen­stown pi­lot Ju­lian Kramer gave up on life her­self af­ter the crash that claimed her son’s life.

Fa­ther Henry Kramer said his wife Lynne was ill with leukemia when Ju­lian, also known as Juli­enne, was killed in a he­li­copter crash in the Cardrona Val­ley in Novem­ber 2012.

‘‘Leukemia can be kept at bay by blood trans­fu­sions but when Ju­lian had the ac­ci­dent she de­cided she wouldn’t have any more trans­fu­sions. She made a de­ci­sion to die.’’

The cou­ple were born again Chris­tians which had given them an ac­cep­tance of death, he said.

‘‘So she de­cided she would go. She was 84.’’

Ju­lian, the mid­dle of three sons, had al­ways been around for the cou­ple.

‘‘We lost a mem­ber of the fam­ily who was a great com­fort and help and a bless­ing to us,’’ he said.

Last week the Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity re­leased a re­port into the crash that claimed Ju­lian’s life which said the he­li­copter was fly­ing fast when main ro­tor con­trol was lost and the blades struck the tail boom. It could not pos­i­tively iden­tify the cir­cum­stances which led to that hap­pen­ing.

Mr Kramer said no-one could be blamed for the crash but he be­lieved fa­tigue and a tight time frame might have been fac­tors.

The re­port noted Kramer was fit and a very ex­pe­ri­enced aero­plane pi­lot but had much less ex­pe­ri­ence in a Robin­son R22.

It said that on the day of the ac­ci­dent Kramer had car­ried out a full day’s du­ties of about eight hours at the aero club in­clud­ing log­ging 2.3 hours fly­ing in fixed­wing air­craft.

Mr Kramer said his son wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily fa­tigued.

‘‘But there’s phys­i­cal fa­tigue and men­tal fa­tigue. In my opin­ion that is a thing that should be men­tioned in this re­port stressed a lit­tle bit more.’’

The re­port also noted the pi­lot was un­der time pres­sure to com­plete the flight be­fore a twi­light cut-off with only 38 min­utes of avail­able day­light time and the flight time was about 30 min­utes.

Mr Kramer



‘‘In my opin­ion that cer­tainly had a bear­ing on the out­come for this flight. The lack of time to com­plete it . . . This should never have hap­pened. They shouldn’t have gone over there.’’

The re­port recorded a han­dling er­ror Kramer made dur­ing he­li­copter train­ing and the sug­ges­tion he may have been fly­ing at an rpm higher than nor­mal then over­re­acted by clos­ing the throt­tle, stalling the en­gine and los­ing con­trol of the he­li­copter.

But Mr Kramer said his son was ex­tremely pru­dent.

‘‘He wouldn’t do any­thing that was out­side the book.’’

The re­port flagged a Robin­son safety no­tice – ‘‘in­grained re­ac­tions for an ex­pe­ri­enced aero­plane pi­lot can be deadly when fly­ing a he­li­copter’’.

The re­port noted the he­li­copter was 25 hours over­due for its 50-hour sched­uled in­spec­tion.

Asked to re­spond, he­li­copter owner Andrew Fair­fax emailed, say­ing the crash was a tragedy.

‘‘The CAA in­ves­ti­ga­tors car­ried out a com­pre­hen­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­ter­view­ing many people, in­clud­ing my­self, and I re­ally don’t think I have any­thing help­ful to add to what is al­ready in the re­port.’’

Treated: Ju­lian Kramer, left, with pi­lot Sam Innes out­side the Wakatipu Aero Club on Mr Kramer’s 50th birth­day. Mem­bers of the club shouted their friend and col­league ‘‘JK’’ to an hour’s flight in an AS350 squir­rel he­li­copter for gain­ing a pri­vate he­li­copter li­cence.

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