Aeronca C3 Petit Airfield

This is currently the oldest flying aircraft in South Africa and a pre-war trans-Africa veteran This Aeronca was built by the Aeronautical Corporation of America (Aeronca) of Ohio in late 1935 and delivered to Britain, where it was assembled at Hanworth. In 1936 it was flown to Johannesburg by David Llewellyn. For this flight the aircraft was fitted with a long range fuel tank (in the left seat) and blind flying instruments. This flight set its own record, in that it was the lowest powered aircraft to have completed a trans-Africa flight. This C3 was registered as ZS-AGX but after a short time was exported to Mozambique (as CR-ABA) where it crashed in the early 1940s.

Aeronca C3

The remains of this aircraft were found at Brakpan-Benoni airfield in 1986 and obtained by John Illsley who stored it for a decade before starting a complete restoration in which he undertook the bulk of the work. This took 14 years, with the wings, ailerons and undercarriage being completely rebuilt and original parts being used for the rest of the rebuild. The first post-restoration flight took place at Petit in August 2013.


ENGINE: JA Prestwich J99 (40hp)
Fuselage: tubular steel.
Length: 20 feet
Wings: Spruce and Maple
Wing Span: 36 feet
Speed: 60 knots cruising
Range: 300 km
Weight: 258 kg empty
Seats: 2

Read more about the restoration of the Aeronca C3