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Harold Krier



The farm boy from Ashland, Kansas, is no longer among the aerobatic fraternity. He was killed spin testing a prototype airplane in Wichita, Kansas at 4:00 p.m. on July 6, 1971. There were no witnesses to the accident; but he was found about a half mile from the wreckage with his chute only partially opened and the spin chute installed on the aircraft torn away. Services were held for him in Ashland at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 9, 1971.

Harold was a quiet man whose flying spoke louder than a shout. Harold flew for the pilots, not the crowd, and only the pilots in the crowd could fully appreciate the skill and smoothness with which he could perform any acrobatic maneuver.

Harold Krier was born on April 6, 1922 in Olpe, Kansas. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1940 and served as a Flight Engineer during World War II. He was discharged a Master Sergeant in 1945. After the war he went to Des Moines, Iowa and earned his A and E mechanics license. Jack Stephens taught him to fly and together they started the airport in Ashland, Kansas that now bears his name. In the late forties he went to Garden City, Kansas and worked as a mechanic and flight instructor. He built his first aerobatic airplane there, a clipped wing cub, and taught himself aerobatics out of the old Air Corps primary flying manual. Later, with his brother Larry he built up the Great Lakes Special that was to make him famous among those who appreciated smooth, precision flying. Perhaps more than any other individual he was responsible for the revival of aerobatics in this country in the fifties and early sixties.

His interest in perfection led him through a series of airplanes; the Krier Kraft Acromaster, the Chipmunk with a 200 Ranger and later with a 295 Lycoming. He represented the USA in International competition with these airplanes in Spain, Moscow and in East Germany. These were the days when going overseas to a world contest represented a great personal financial sacrifice.

Harold was a master mechanic and builder of aerobatic airplanes, but he freely gave it all away to anyone who asked for help. He would do anything for a friend and he had no enemies. Many were indebted to him for help he had given, and most of these were there when he was laid to rest.

Yes, Harold Krier is gone. His mortal remains lie on a hill overlooking Ashland, Kansas, but he will live forever in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. He will be sorely missed.