The members and staff of NAAA wish to express their sympathies to the family and friends of Gene Kritter of Culpeper, Virginia. The owner of Kritter Cropdusting Inc. was fatally injured June 18 when the helicopter he was piloting crashed just north of Goldsboro, North Carolina. The Robinson R66 helicopter struck a steel dove line while spraying corn and went down at 5:23 p.m. Kritter turned 65 and had celebrated his 30th wedding anniversary less than a week earlier. He was born June 13, 1955.
Eugene John Kritter III is survived by his wife Lynne and their three daughters, Elena, Dani and Josie. Gene was a well-liked and respected member of NAAA, the Northeast Agricultural Aviation Association and the North Carolina Agricultural Aviation Association. He was warm, engaging and passionate about flying, farming, agricultural aviation and most importantly, his family. As an aerial applicator for the past 28 years, Gene serviced farmers primarily in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. His helicopter application service was based at Ground Rush Farm, Gene and Lynne’s 150-acre farm in Culpeper.
Gene was a well-known and beloved member of his local community. He frequently sponsored and donated helicopter rides to local charity events. He could be found every weekend running a charity 5K, 10K or half marathon with his family. He coached countless volleyball, soccer and basketball teams for his girls. He flew newlyweds to their receptions and flew his family on adventures around the world. He gave away extraordinary moments and memories of joy, fun and warmth to everyone around him as if it were the most ordinary thing in the world. He did it all with a constant smile on his face.
Together with his wife of 30 years, Lynne, Gene created a family built on love and adventure. It is fitting that Gene and Lynne met while skydiving. On their 10th anniversary, the couple parachuted into their own party. Gene lived to see his three girls all become certified skydivers.
Gene and Lynne Kritter celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary less than a week before his fatal accident.
Gene took great pride in being an ag pilot, as he explained to Agricultural Aviation in 2017. “I love that it needs to be done and it needs to be done now, and that it really has just a huge impact for the farmers and on their crop,” he said. Kritter Cropdusting Inc. is determined to carry on Gene’s legacy of hard work and exceptional customer service. The company is up and running, and the crew is still flying and spraying despite the loss of their captain.
The family will hold a celebration of Gene’s life at their farm in Culpeper when social distancing restrictions are relaxed. The family has asked that donations in Gene’s memory be made to Sisters of the Skies, a charity that supports minority women in the aviation industry. Click here to make an online donation or visit sistersoftheskies.org to learn more about the organization’s mission.