Published in Midwest Flyer – February/March 2018 issue
BLAKESBURG, IOWA – The Air Power Museum (APM), located at Antique Airfield in Blakesburg, Iowa, has acquired a rare and historic de Havilland Super Chipmunk once owned by aerobatic competitor and airshow performer, Harold Krier of Ashland, Kansas. Owners Todd and Jo Peterson of Peterson Performance Plus, Inc. of El Dorado, Kansas, donated the aircraft to the museum.
Since 1946, several countries have used Chipmunks for training military pilots, but this two-seat aerobatic trainer, N6311V, was designed to be the first monoplane to represent the USA in the World Aerobatic Championships in Moscow in 1966.
Krier served as a flight engineer during World War II, and following the war, learned to fly and fell in love with aerobatics. By the mid-1950s, he was performing in a clipped-wing Cub and later in a modified Great Lakes biplane, as well as a biplane of his own design, the “Krier Kraft.” With an introduction by fellow airshow performer, Frank Price, Krier toured the country in Bill Sweet’s National Airshow, where he remained until his death spin testing a prototype aircraft in Wichita, Kansas in 1971 at age 49.
Harold Krier claimed top prizes in the Antique Airplane Association (AAA) Aerobatic Championships from 1958 through 1960, with the trophy retired in his name in 1966, the same year the Chipmunk competed in the World Aerobatic Championships in Moscow.
Krier realized that to compete internationally, he needed a slick monoplane, so he clipped and metalized the wings of a Chipmunk, lengthened the ailerons, redesigned the tail, beefed up the airframe and installed a 200-hp Ranger engine. Thus, the first aerobatic monoplane to represent the USA in international competition was born, and the innovations in Krier’s Super Chipmunk set the standard for most future competition monoplanes.
Krier literally gave away all the modification data to anyone who wanted to copy it. Other well-known competition aerobatic pilots and airshow performers who used Krier’s modifications on their Chipmunks, included Art Scholl and Skip Volk.
Harold Krier’s Chipmunk and related artifacts/memorabilia will eventually be displayed, along with Frank Price’s Great Lakes biplane — the first U.S. entrant in the 1960 World Aerobatic Championships. These two aircraft, along with APM’s collection of Duane Cole’s personal memorabilia, will form the center piece of the future Earl Adkisson Hangar.