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Kramer Max

Max Kramer was born in Basel on the 30th of June 1911. After the compulsory school he did an apprenticeship as a metal constructor for Willi Farner Flugzeugbau in Grenchen. He then continued to work for this firm specializing as an airplane mechanic.
He began his aviation career in the early '30s flying gliders. Much later he became a glider instructor. By 1942 he was active in Belp as a glider instructor for the Swiss military pilot candidates. On the 4th of May 1946 he obtained the airplane licence, which at that time was known as "patent and licence of pilot for touristic aerodynes". Successively he obtained several extensions of his licence and became airplane instructor on the 15th of December 1947. On board of the different airplanes he logged a solid flying experience.
On the 21st of August 1951 he obtained the commercial pilot licence. In that period he worked in Germany as a pilot doing advertising flights with a Fieseler Fi 156C-2 Storch.

Helicopter pilot

Kramer was attracted by the arrival in Switzerland of the first helicopters and in the spring of 1954 he got into contact with Air Import. On the 14th of April 1954 he began his helicopter flight training on the Hiller 360 HB-XAB. His first instructors were Albert Villard and Carl Bode.

On the 7th of May he obtained the private helicopter licence n° 11. On the 18th of May, with 40h38' of flight on his active (of which 24h38' as a PIC) the Federal office for civil aviation (FOCA) issued him the commercial pilot licence n° 11. He enthusiastically accepted Air Import's offer to work as a commercial pilot.
For this reason he was then trained to fly with other models such as the Hiller UH-12B and the SO 1221 Djinn, the first turbine powered helicopter to fly in Switzerland.
On the 9th of May 1956 while doing aerial spraying with the Hiller 360 HB-XAD he was forced to make an emergency landing. The accident, caused by a mechanical failure of the tail rotor transmission, fortunately ended without important damages.

With Air Import he did a lot of flights for the aerial application of pesticides and aerial advertising. In this period he flew not only in Switzerland but also abroad, especially in Holland and Germany.
By January 1957, along with Walter Demuth and Emil Müller, he was employed by Heliswiss. For this reason he was trained by Leo Kunz to fly with the Bell 47. On the 29th of October 1958 he obtained the helicopter instructor licence and started to train numerous pilots.
In 1959 he left Heliswiss and went to work for Swissair-Photo as an airplane pilot and mechanic. For many years he flew with a Dornier DO-27, equipped for aerial photography. However he occasionally continued to fly helicopters.

On the 7th of April 1960 he had an accident during an alpine mountain rescue mission with the Bell 47G HB-XAK. Fortunately nor him nor the rescuer were injured.
In 1962-1963 thanks to an agreement between Swissair and Heliswiss Max Kramer began to fly more intensively with helicopters. Heliswiss was in fact faced with the lack of experienced pilots.
On the 21st of September 1963 while training a student at the airport of Belp he had another accident caused by a mechanical failure. The helicopter, a Hiller UH-12B registered HB-XBS, was seriously damaged, but fortunately nobody was injured.
His activity as a pilot and instructor continued until the end of 1969. He then stopped to fly with helicopters until May 1973. In that year he decided to recommence his activity as a helicopter instructor. He learned from Fritz Fuhrer how to fly the Enstrom F-28A and then worked as an instructor for the school Flugschule Eichenberger in Buttwil. With the Enstrom helicopters, that appeared in Switzerland in those years, he logged a solid experience.
Officially he did his last flight as a helicopter pilot on the 26th of April 1977. At that moment he had already retired, but wanted to continue because aviation was probably his greatest passion.
In addition to the models already mentioned he piloted the Brantly B-2, the Hughes 269A and 269C.
As a helicopter pilot he logged in total 1'965 hours of flight. However his aviation career was not yet finished. He left the vertical flight and returned to fly as an airplane instructor for the school Flugschule Sportfluggruppe Swissair.
He renewed his licence for the last time on the 24th of January 1979. Unfortunately the following year for medical reasons he was forced to suspend all his flying activities. This fact caused him a great sadness.
Max Kramer died because of a sudden stroke on the 5th of November 1980.

HAB 07/2009