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
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
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.