I would have been 1962 when Joe La Hood, a family friend of Lebanese descent, and a Sergeant in the NZ Army, took me for my first aircraft ride.
The aircraft was Auster J5F Aiglet Trainer ZK-BRA (c/n 3110) of the Otago Aero Club.
This was the first of several rides and the start of my path into the downward spiral of aviation.
The J5F was aerobatic, with its clipped wings and heavier wing stuts. On Sunday afternoons, the then Otago Aero Club CFI - Hugh Skilling - would take the Auster up for a brief aerobatic display - the falling leaf was my favourite.
This Auster gained its UK C of A on 31-07-1953 and served as G-ANAU with Parker's Stores Ltd of Edinburgh. It was extensively damaged after being stolen from its hangar in 01-09-1953. It was sold to W S Shackleton of London in June of 1956 for export to NZ.
It was registered to the Otago Aero Club as ZK-BRA on 02-10-1956 and gained its NZ CofA on the 5th.
The Southern Districts Aero Club at Gore took control from 15-11-1962
It struck a fence and overturned on take off at Balclutha on 03-01-1965.
It was damaged at Poputuroa on 08-03-1966 with ownership changing to F H Chittock of Gore on 04-08-1966.
Next known incident was at Dunedin on 12-05-1967. Its registration being cancelled on 11-08-1972.
After rebuild by Southern Aviation of Gore it was re-registered to Paul R Jones of Invercargill on 19-11-1979 as an Auster J5F/L (L= Lycoming).
Bendon, for those unknowing, was a well known brand of female support (BRA).
Ownership officially moved to K R O'Brien of Oamaru on 18-01-1987.
Below my last sighting of ZK-BRA was at Ashburton on 04-02-2007.
Its registration was cancelled on 11-10-2012.
I believe the mortal remains have gone south for a possible rebuild.