Hundreds of people gathered for a memorial service to pay their respects to a Central Otago pilot on Saturday.
Killed last month in a helicopter crash in Papua New Guinea, former Alexandra pilot Antony Annan's ashes and flying helmet were returned to a place dear to his heart, an aircraft hangar that he helped his late father and pioneer aviator Bill build 40 years ago.
''We chose where it all started...where he used to ride in the Cessna with Dad and where he worked at getting his fixed wing aircraft hours up. This hangar was a monumental place in his life,'' his younger sister Becs said.
Mr Annan's life-long friend and president of Central Otago Flying Club Russell Anderson, of Alexandra, acknowledged the importance of the Annan family's contribution to aviation in Central Otago.
''Alexandra has produced a huge number of pilots as a result,'' he said.
Mr Annan's partner, family and friends also paid tribute to the search and rescue teams who eventually recovered his body, along with two Australian pilots from the helicopter wreck, and the co-operation of the Australian and New Zealand governments.
Mr Annan would have turned 50 last month.
In a final journey, his ashes and helmet were taken from Alexandra Airport by helicopter as family and friends stood in silent farewell.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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