John Gaillard Gone West

Dear (CIVA) Delegates, friends and all aerobatic followers,

I am very sorry to tell you that our friend and colleague John Gaillard passed away peacefully at home yesterday afternoon. John had been strongly involved in the aerobatic sports movement in South Africa for a great many years, where his passing will be deeply mourned. He was also currently a CIVA Vice President, had previously chaired our Judging Committee for some years, was Chief Judge at a good number of CIVA aerobatic championships at all levels, and without doubt has been instrumental in guiding a wide range of CIVA policies and activities since I think back in the 1980's. Life on the judging line, in the bureau of course and at plenary conferences will not be the same again.

A truly fine man in our sport, there are I know so many fond memories to recall. Most of you knew him well, and I have no doubt the range of anecdotes and recollections with John's presence or influence are wide and varied.

Rest in peace John, you will not be forgotten.


Nick Buckenham, CIVA President - Aerobatic Commission of the FAI
civa-president [at]

 | | World Aerobatics



I am deeply sorry for the loss of John. He was a friend since the 1980’s and we worked together at CIVA and FAI Aerobatic Championships since that time as members of the Bureau and also in his role as Chair of the Judges Committee.

John’s legacy will be the improvement and quality of the championships and the judging we enjoy today. John was a consistent, strong, and persistent advocate for our judges and bringing the very best people to the judging line to give our pilots the evaluations they deserve. I cannot overstate how influential John was in that regard.

Aside from that, he was also active in the amendments, revisions, and updating of our rules. This helped achieve the fairness and objectivity we enjoy today, especially since it was not always so. He was outspoken and fearless in his discussions and advocacy, though he always remained your friend.

John was someone I always looked forward to seeing when arriving at a CIVA meeting or a championship. His laugh was something you could hear across the room, and he sincerely enjoyed being with the aerobatic community. Aside from that, he also brought others into the sport and judges like Quintin Hawthorne and Laszlo Liskay are also part of his legacy. He was as selfless as they come and never one for personal aggrandizement or attention.

John was an IAC member since 1981, IAC #7843.

It is a sad day. We will all miss John in many ways. I was proud to be his friend. As Nick said, he will not be forgotten.

Mike Heuer, IA C4, IAC President Emeritus, CIVA President of Honour