Arthur Piercy Takes To The Air At The SAAF Museum
By Garth Calitz
The South African Air force Museum hosted their monthly flying training day on Saturday 3 November and the day started as usual with the pilots briefing attended by Mrs. South Africa, the lovely Lynné De Jager and her husband Wilhelm to the delight of the SAAF museum pilots and crew. Lynné will be representing South Africa in the Mrs World competition later this year and we wish her all the best - “Bring it home”.
All the visitors to the Museum including Mrs Ina Strijdom, the DA councilor for Centurion South, quickly realized that this was no ordinary flying day with the arrival of a Yak 52, Antanov AN2, two ex-military bosbok “converters “now in private hands, a Alouette II and a Tigermoth. The Tigermoth was flown in by Dan Perry, an airline pilot with Comair, especially to take Arthur Piercy for a flight.
Arthur is wheelchair bound following an accident in September 1987. The tail of his Mirage F1CZ was badly damaged in a dogfight with a Cuban Mig 23 and this left him without brakes or a drag chute. On landing he unfortunately could not stop the aircraft which raced off the end of the runway and in the process his ejection seat deployed resulting in a very serious back injury. Arthur's Energetic and positive outlook on life is an inspiration to people worldwide. He is currently the Public Relations officer at Association for the Physically Disabled in Greater Johannesburg area and is very involved with the SAAF Museum.
Sgt's Prinsloo and Jooste from Waterkloof fire & rescue services and Warrant officer du Toit from Mobile Deployment Wing were at hand with a “cherry picker” to hoist Arthur into the Tigermoth closely watched by his fiancé Gerda, father Cyril and Lt Col Mike O'Connor officer commanding the SAAF Museum . It was quite an involved process fitting Arthur with a harness. Once this was complete the actual hoist into the front seat of the Tiger and was fairly simple. Dan taxied out and took off chased by Grant Timms in the War Birds formation Yak 52. Unfortunately they could only do one wide circuit before the Tigermoth developed a radio snag and they were forced to land and abandon the sortie.
The Museum use their monthly flying days as a means of thanking the people for their continuous support to the Museum. Many people were taken for “flips” in the various Historic aircraft such as the De Havilland DH115 T55 Vampire, Harvard's and Alouette II and III helicopters. Lynné and Wilhelm De Jager were treated to a flight in one of the two flying Alouette III's. The public were also wowed by a skydiving display by the SAAF “Golden Eagles” skydiving team as they were dropped by the Museums Atlas C4M Kudu.
The next SAAF Museum flying day will be held on the 1st of December. The flying days are generally well attended, food and drinks are always on sale at “The Windsock” restaurant and at the kiosk run by the “The Friends of the SAAF Museum”. See you there!!
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