Craig McBride will be remembered as a great cricketer and respected leader by his former Tauranga classmates.
The former Tauranga Boys' College head prefect has been named as one of the pilots killed in a fatal mid-air collision in Masterton on Sunday.
Good friend Wayne Holden said he attended Tauranga Boys' College for about five years alongside McBride and the pair became great pals.
"I was in many of his classes. He was a really nice, sensible, likeable, clever guy," he said.
"He had a great sense of humour, that's why he had a lot of friends."
In 1970, McBride was made head prefect of the boys' college.
"That was a perfect match for his leadership skills," Holden said.
McBride attended the college's 60th Jubilee in October last year.
Tauranga Boys' College principal Robert Mangan said McBride held a strong relationship with the Tauranga Boys' College Old Boys' Association.
"He spoke at our assembly on behalf of the old boys and kept in touch with them," he said.
"He was a standout representative and was held in high regard among the old boys. They are all saddened by the loss of a significant leader."
McBride also captained the school's 1st XI cricket team in 1970, Mangan said.
"Cricket formed a large part of his life," he said. "He was a high performing cricketer too."
Mangan said McBride's father was also on the school's Board of Trustees and his brother was also a Tauranga Boys' College old boy.
McBride's wife was reported to have been overseas when she was informed of her husband's death and his two daughters were understood to be travelling back to New Zealand from the United Kingdom and Australia.
New Zealand cricketer Doug Bracewell said McBride had taught him maths for about three years at Rathkeale College in the Wairarapa, where McBride was a member of the local aero club.
Bracewell said McBride also coached him in the Rathkeale First XI and Wairarapa cricket teams.
The former Black Cap allrounder said he was a "real character" and "really passionate about everything he did."
"His personality will be missed the most, he was just a hard case guy and a really good bloke that got along with a lot of people."
Additional reporting - NZME