Family remembers St. Charles pilot - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Family remembers St. Charles pilot

ST. CHARLES, Minn. (FOX 47) --  Family and friends are remembering a St. Charles helicopter pilot killed in a crash landing in Maplewood.

Mike Kramer, 44, was pronounced dead at the scene after the chopper he was piloting flew into a garage Wednesday morning.

"Mike was born and raised about two miles north of here," said Willis Van Norman, who lives near the Kramer family in St. Charles. 

A pilot himself, Van Norman is looking for the answers that are currently under investigation.

"The National Transportation Safety Board will look at it," he said. "They'll take the helicopter and put it in a large area where they can take it apart and look at every possible thing that could go wrong."

The company Kramer worked for takes care of the crops where Van Norman lives.

"Scott's Helicopter Service that he worked for they also spray the sweet corn here.  They have a contract through Lakeside Canning Company," Van Norman said.

Mike Kramer's older brother David explained how flying became part of Mike's life.

"The owner of the company that Mike was flying for yesterday probably was the one out at our farm out spraying when he first started up his company back in the seventies."

Kramer grew up with six sisters and five brothers on a farm north of town.  After becoming a pilot he had a number of different jobs including flying tourists over Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and flying for TV news stations in Florida and the Twin Cities.  Recently Mike had been flying a medical chopper in Knoxville, Tenn. before moving back to Minnesota with his wife and kids.

"The toughest thing for me is when I think about those two kids not having their daddy around anymore," said David Kramer.  Mike's daughter is 12 years old and his son is 9.

"Different people have said that he's the best person they ever worked with," Kramer said.  "Very much in love with his wife and a very good dad to his two children.  He will be missed."

Kramer was administrating mosquito control in the Maplewood area.  Preliminary investigation results could be available in five days but it may take six months or more to fully understand what happened. 

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