He might well have become a farmer, had it not been for a plane ride at an air show.

Ian Gillard was 16 when his mother bought him a spin in a Tiger Moth for the princely sum of 10 shillings. It was the spark that ignited a passion. And it led, eventually, to Gillard becoming Deputy Chief of Air Staff — second in command — of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Gillard was born on April 20, 1930 and brought up on a dairy farm near Morrinsville. He left school without any formal qualifications, not really knowing what