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John Sheppard (1934- )

John built and flew models as a youngster on the family farm at Tairua. The May 1952 Aeromodeller magazine mentions a New Zealand record set by John, for Waterplane (rubber) Junior. He was runner-up to the Junior Champion at the Nats that year and there was a plan published in the January 1953 Aeromodeller magazine. The "Karoro" as it was named, was a floatplane designed in 1950, powered by an E.D. Bee and was flown from the Tairua estuary..

When the family moved to Ramarama, South of Auckland, John joined the original Papakura M.A.C. and was soon involved in competition. Winning Payload at the 1954/55 Hamilton Nats, runner-up to the Champ of Champs at the 1955/56 New Plymouth Nats with good placings in C/L Speed (yes C/L), Free-Flight Scale and Payload. Early modelling expeditions used the family Bradford van and in later years 4 modellers and their models and their gear, packed into John's Mini Minor for trips to the Waikato Champs and other contests.

John went to England in 1959 and soon became involved with some of the best U.K Free-Flight exponents. Henry J. Nichols model shop was the Saturday afternoon meeting place where ideas and theories were discussed, accepted or discarded. A model with great performance was lost (flyaway) with only 6 weeks to go to the World champs at Cranfield, so the construction of the "Gloworm" was started.

John's crowning achievement was the marathon fly-off at the 1960 Free-Flight Power World Championships. After 12 rounds following the 5 round contest John was one of five declared joint winners after all had scored 17 consecutive max's.

The following year, after his return to New Zealand the same model was proxy flown to 4th place at the World Champs, the best placing by any of the "famous five" from the previous year.