Queenstown pilot farewelled

Friends and family carry the casket of Glenorchy Air senior pilot Ray Crow after a funeral service near Queenstown yesterday. Photo by Guy Williams.
Friends and family carry the casket of Glenorchy Air senior pilot Ray Crow after a funeral service near Queenstown yesterday. Photo by Guy Williams.

Mourners at the funeral of a Queenstown pilot who died in a light plane crash near Alexandra last week have described a fastidious perfectionist who never left anything to chance.

Glenorchy Air pilot Ray Crow died and two passengers survived when the Piper Cherokee 6 aircraft crashed near Poolburn Dam on August 5 during a scenic flight.

Speaking to about 150 mourners at Lake Hayes Pavilion yesterday, Glenorchy Air co-owner Robert Rutherford said that in the five and-a-half years Mr Crow worked for him, he had come to admire his ''inquiring and intensely analytical mind''.

In everything, but especially aviation, his senior pilot had ''dotted every i and crossed every t''.

''He never cut corners and he never let us down.

"I'm sure that in the last few moments before he died, he would have done everything he could, and that's why his passengers survived.''

The passengers, Sarah and Eric Hoffman, of the United States, were taken to Dunedin Hospital in a serious condition.

The pair, in their 30s, were ''progressing favourably'', a hospital spokeswoman said yesterday.

Another speaker at the service, friend Lauren Middleton, said Mr Crow was ''fastidious'' in everything, whether in the way he dressed, in maintaining an ''immaculate'' property, or in teaching himself stonemasonry.

His former wife, Dawn Sneddon, said Mr Crow had swept her off her feet when they met in the late 1980s and they had maintained ''love and respect for each other'' after their 13-year relationship ended.

A ''man of many talents and interests'', one of his greatest gifts was fatherhood and his love for their son, Daniel.

At the end of the service, Mr Crow's casket was carried through a guard of honour of the region's commercial pilots, and a Milford Sound Flights GA8 Airvan made two low-level passes overhead.