Plane in the back yard

George Mel has dreamed of flying since he was a boy, but when his father died he had to give up his studies, and any chance of training to be a pilot.

Ambitious plane-builder of South Sudan

He went to study at high school in Uganda, but in 2011, as he was preparing for his final exams, his father died, leaving him unable to pay his tuition fees.

However, he continued to do whatever he could to teach himself aeronautics.

Instead he built a plane in his back yard - which so impressed his country's air force that it gave him a job.

He gathered the materials to build an aircraft, scouring Juba's metal workshops to piece together an aluminium airframe, and importing two small petrol engines to power it. Using a garden chair for the pilot's seat, he put the aircraft together with information he found in old textbooks and on the internet. Ambitious plane-builder of South Sudan When Mel eventually took his work to the South Sudan Air Force, officers were impressed and gave him a job in their IT department. He is now hoping to get a scholarship to study aeronautical engineering abroad. So far the authorities in Juba have refused Mel permission to test-fly his ultra-light, restricting him to taxi-ing the aircraft in his yard. One of his aims is to develop a farming drone to spray crops, though in the long run, of course, he wants to design and build full-size planes.

Ambitious plane-builder of South Sudan