Glider pilot Trent Miller died aged 36 doing what he loved - but he shouldn't have.
Miller's glider crashed near Drury, South Auckland, on January 19 in circumstances still under investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority.
His top-of-the-line single-seat glider had been flown without incident the day before and there was no excessive wind on the day, said a witness at the Auckland Gliding Club.
Friend Kenneth Ng described Miller as his wingman. "He excelled in gliding."
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Miller, a geographic and information system specialist, was buried yesterday in Henderson.
Tributes on Facebook gliding pages have come from as far as the United Kingdom.
Gliding expert Iggy Wood said gliders rarely spin out of control.
"We try at all stages to avoid it, through good instruction, teaching people how to avoid a spin. We do maintenance checks every year and sub-inspections every 50 flying hours."
Miller's glider was 20 years old, Wood said. "While it's not a young glider by any means, it's a well-proven design and model."