John Sheppard (1934- )
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..
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
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
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.