John Illsley with a Pobjoy
radial engine for his next project.
John poses with the
Aeronca C3 he is restoring.
South African EAA member John Illsley will
realize a lifelong wish this year when he attends EAA AirVenture 2008. Illsley
won a trip for two to Oshkosh in African Pilot magazine's essay contest
held earlier this year. Illsley, who was born in Joahannesburg, Guateng, South
Africa, has always showed great interest in aviation and has pursued it in a
variety of ways.
He learned to fly with the Defense Flying Club
while spending two years in the National Service stint at the South African Air
Force Museum as a historical research officer. He now teaches at Pretoria Boys
High School, where he founded the Aeronautical Society 15 years ago.
"Having never visited the EAA AirVenture
week at Oshkosh, the prize in the African Pilot competition will allow
another dream to be fulfilled," said magazine editor Athol Franz, who will
accompany Illsley and his wife, Thea, to AirVenture.
"My wife always believed I could win it,
but I wasn't sure how spectacular some of the competing articles and photos
might be," Illsley said. "I haven't stopped smiling since I heard the
Illsley takes great pride in the work he has
done rebuilding and restoring aircraft. He purchased and rebuilt a 1944 Auster
MK 5 Taylorcraft and is currently completing a restoration of the only Aeronca
C3 in South Africa, originally built in 1935. His hobby is aviation
photography, and he's been published several times.
The creative competition required a written
short aviation story with photographs. The competition was judged and sponsored
by Neil Bowden's Air Adventure Tours, Canon South Africa, and African Pilot
magazine. Illsley's article, which detailed a flight he took last year on the
South Island of New Zealand in a vintage biplane called a DeHavilland
Dragonfly, will be published in the August edition of African Pilot,
along with his photographs.