Record thought set as 16 planes replace 16 candles on birthday
Rangitata teen Ross Brodie was so elated - so high - on his 16th birthday that he had to use 16 aeroplanes to come down.
And as he did, those with him were sure that he set a new record.
The young aviator flew solo 16 times on the first day on which he was legally allowed to fly on his own.
If that wasn't enough, Ross flew all sixteen circuits in different aircraft ranging from microlights to a Tiger Moth, possibly making it a world first.
His father Russell, who is also a flying instructor, said his son had lived and breathed aeroplanes since birth.
He had been training for the day most of his life.
"He has flown with me since he was old enough to see over the front cowling," Russell said.
At 7am on Saturday morning Russell sent his son into the air from the Rangitata aerodrome - alone, for the very first time.
"It was such a special feeling coming down after my first solo to know that something I've been wanting to do all my life, to fly an aeroplane by myself, had finally happened," Ross said.
"I flew 16 unique aircraft, all on my 16th birthday, something that has never been done before in the world."
Lots of friends gathered at the airfield with many bringing their own aircraft for Ross to fly.
It followed months of preparation, including plenty of dual instruction leading up to the big day.
However, several of the planes were single seaters so it was fly or drop - literally - first time.
Flying his father's Tiger Moth was one of the most memorable moments of the day.
"It's dad's pride and joy and to be honest, compared to some of the other planes, I hadn't done a lot of flying in it, I knew I could fly it, but there was just this little niggle in the back of my mind 'what if'."
However, his early fears were unfounded: the flight ended in one of Ross' best landings of the day.
All the aircraft had their own personalities, explained Ross.
Among them were several microlights. The oldest was a 1980s Quicksilver. The others included a Cessna 150, a CF Shadow, a Jabiru, a Stol , and a Pioneer 2000.
Some aircraft were fitted with tricycle undercarriages while others were taildraggers.
The very last flight of the day was flown in what Ross called a "rag and tube" microlight, with a lawn mower engine.
The blue and red Quicksilver touched down safely at 8pm bringing his record breaking day to an end.
" I can't remember not being interested in aeroplanes, I think I was 2-years-old when I went for my first flight with dad.
"It's in my blood now and living on a farm with your own aerodrome definitely has its benefits."
Ross wants to pursue a career in aviation, including engineering and instructing.