This Side Up Aviation Story

Large Scale Aerobatics
Gyrocopter Crop spray
Commercial License c172

This Side Up Aviation – Who are we?

This Side Up Aviation was created by an Inspired pilot, Lawrence Robinson, for pilots and enthusiasts.

Lawrence has always had a passion for aerobatics and as such the name, THIS SIDE UP AVIATION was a testament to that passion for being up-side-down.

The journey to the creation of This Side Up Aviation has been a long one with many Aviation “Highs and Lows”.

Lawrence Robinson originally started-off in South Africa.

After many years of Competitive Large Scale IMAC National wins amongst other aviation competitions, Lawrence completed his Commercial License with a Multi-Engine Instrument-Flight rating and Grade III Instructors rating by the age of 20.

The following year he was offered a job Crop-dusting with Experimental Gyrocopters and Aeroplanes.

Lawrence immigrated to New Zealand when he was 21 and has built up his experience and qualifications to add as much value to the aviation industry in New Zealand as possible.

A few highlights are his:

  • Diploma of Aviation – Specializing in Instruction
  • Commerical Aeroplane License
  • B Category Aeroplane Instructor Rating
  • Helicopter pilot License
  • Senior Microlight Pilot Certificate
  • Aerobatic Instructor
  • Seaplane Instructor
  • Gyrocopter Instructor

Aviation is an amazing career with so many different kinds of flying and aircraft. Lawrence has flown almost every type of Aircraft in multiple formats:

  • Aerobatic Aircraft
  • Helicopters
  • Crop-Spraying Aeroplanes
  • Crop-Dusting Gyrocopters
  • Experimental Aircraft, both Aeroplane, and Rotary Wing
  • Multi-Engine Engine
  • Instrument-Based Flying
  • Gyrocopters
  • Seaplanes
  • Microlights
  • Light Sport Aircraft
  • Model Aircraft including Competition Aerobatics, Helicopters, Jets, Gliders and Seaplanes
  • Commercial Drones

The only aircraft left to fly are Warbirds, Jets, and Gliders – Coming Soon!

Lawrence Robinson has helped many students and advanced pilots, progress to new heights through his practical and in-depth teaching style,
His focus on Mind-Set helps students rise above the challenge and succeed.

This Side Up Aviation has also created in-depth and interactive theory lessons which have proved that anyone can pass PPL, CPL and BGT exams with the correct training.

“It is a constantly changing environment which will challenge you and force you out of your comfort zone. You need to have an open mind and constantly improve in order to maintain a high standard. If you are comfortable, you’re doing it wrong.”

We love this about aviation and that is what makes us,

Aviation Inspired

Lawrence Robinson is a commercial pilot both in New Zealand and South Africa.
He moved over to New Zealand three years ago and founded This Side Up Aviation.

Here is his story-

Senior Cadet Model Aircraft
Large Scale Model Aircraft

The Beginning of my Flying career:

My life has been a story of aviation, as far back as I can remember, started when my grandfather took me out to the model aircraft airfield. I got my first taste of aviation and I continued tagging along with my grandfather until one day, at the age of 6 or so, I landed the model aircraft on my own. The whole airfield had stopped flying, started drinking beers and were watching me as I made my first landing ever. What an “Aviation Inspired” moment. I kept going every weekend, with my granddad, for years.

He decided to get involved in bigger model aircraft and eventually ended up flying Large Scale Model Aerobatics. This was where my passion really took off. At the age of 12 or 13 I started competing in the local, monthly competitions. I won my first title as champion of the Sportsman(Beginner) class when I was 14 and just took-off from there(excuse the terrible pun).

I have won multiple Unlimited Class(The big boys class) titles in the South African National Large Scale Aerobatics competitions and the South African T.O.C (Tournament of Champions).

Changing from model to full size aircraft:

I decided at a very young age that I had to become a real pilot and fly full sized aircraft and my granddad again helped me to achieve this goal. When I was 18 I completed my private pilots license. Most of that experience was on a SkyRanger Swift light sport aircraft(You don’t have to fly a Cessna to become a pilot). I completed my Commercial license and Instructor rating at the age of 21 and for over a year a struggled to find any work, South Africa is a cruel mistress.
Eventually I was offered a job, crop spraying!

Needless to say it was an adventure and completely unconventional as I was flying Gyro-copters and Light Sport Aircraft in and around very mountainous terrain in the heart of the Ceres Mountain range. We operated a number of aircraft including a Magni M16, a Sycamore, an ELA, a Sky-Jeep and a purpose-built Ag-gyrocopter called a Trojan(What a heap of…).

I made an amazing life-long friend in the year I did the crop spraying but the boss, working environment and commercial pressure were horrible.
My training consisted of some circuits to get rated in a gyro-copter and a GPS “how-to-switch-it-on guide”.
I was then thrown into the wilderness to spray citrus orchards with 250 hours total flight time and 16 hours on a gyro-copter. We always had poorly maintained aircraft and allot of the maintenance we were forced to do ourselves as we were threatened with dismissal and pay cuts if the job wasn’t completed.

It was a tough experience but a lot of life lessons were learnt in a very short period(Thank goodness) and after a year I immigrated to New Zealand.

Skyranger Swift
Gyrocopter Crop spray
Cessna182 on Beach

My flying career currently:

It is funny how I ended up in another less then ideal situation here in New Zealand. Upon arrival as the company I started working for had the same poor maintenance approach, poor instructional techniques. The boss had even called himself, “anti-authoritarian” and thought the sun shone from…you know the rest. I just carried on and marched slowly forward.

I achieved all my New Zealand pilot licensing to match my South African licensing all the while achieving a NZ Diploma of Aviation to one-up on my own personal best back in South Africa.
I can help you with the following:


  • Private Pilots License
  • Commercial Pilots License
  • Instrument Rating
  • Instructor Rating
  • Aerobatics
  • Seaplanes
  • Drones
  • CAA Compliance
  • Completing your NZ Diploma of Aviation


Up to this point life has been like pushing a mud slick up the steep face of a mountain side but I’m still pushing. If I gain an inch or a mile each day it makes no difference. I’m always getting a little further and if we all aim to complete at least one goal each day we can go miles without even noticing it. However when you do notice what you have accomplished it will make it all worth it.

This attitude has lead me to starting This Side Up Aviation, my own brand based around the connection that aviation brings to all of us. If you fetch you loved ones from the airport, salivate over the amazing aircraft at an airshow or eat your favorite food in a foreign country, imported from home, aviation brings us all closer together and has a positive affect on all of us everyday.
It is with great pleasure that I keep pushing everyday to share my story, aspirations and goals with all of you and I hope you will join this community where we are all.

The quote I live by:

” The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

– Michelangelo –

Aviation Inspired