NTSB unable to determine why helicopter crashed in Maplewood

The National Transportation Safety Board has concluded its investigation into last June’s fatal crash of a helicopter in Maplewood and determined it doesn’t know why the crash happened.

Michael Kramer of St. Charles, Minn., was killed while spraying for mosquitoes in the area when his helicopter crashed into a garage.

In its final report, the NTSB indicated the helicopter appeared to be working fine when the crash occurred, reporting “no malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.” The weather was typical of a perfect day in June with light winds.

Investigators retrieved a GPS which tracked the final flight and found nothing to indicate the helicopter had experienced a problem up until the point where it plunged into the Maplewood neighborhood.

It had taken off from Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie and was spraying near 3M Lake at the time of the crash.

  • Jim G

    Does it usually take 9 months for an NTSB report on a helicopter or small plane crash? Then we should be looking for a report on the Seattle TV helicopter crash in December or next January. Is there any preliminary information as to what the cause of that incident was?

  • Al

    I saw what I assume was the same helicopter earlier in the afternoon north of the monastery (maybe above Southwood Nature Preserve on 120 and Holloway?).

    It was flying in steep banks to turn–nearly upside-down around curves. It was such an unusual sight that my daughter and I stopped to watch it for 5-10 minutes.

    Bob, is it normal that these types of helicopters/sprayers fly like this?

    • It is, yes. Many of the ponds in the Twin Cities are tucked in developments or near power lines, requiring steep approaches, and turns. I love to watch them fly, but am always amazed that more of them don’t go down.

      • Al

        It was pretty incredible to watch.

  • Shannon Ward

    So is that the end of it then? Do they think it was pilot error? He wasn’t actually treating a wetland at the time of the crash, so it wasn’t because he was making complicated maneuvers.

    • That’s pretty much it. It will remain a mystery.

      • Shannon Ward

        What about a coroner’s report on the pilot? I assume they did an autopsy to determine if the impact was his cause of death?

        • Yes, blunt force trauma. Toxicology report was clean.

          • Shannon Ward

            Well, that is sad that the family won’t be able to know what happened. I am a seasonal employee at Mosquito Control, and I met the pilot a few times. I know he had a wife and kids.