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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedSouth African Man Wins Free Trip to AirVenture 2008
  

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 competition results."

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.

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