My name is ARTHUR DOUGLAS PIERCY (pronounced "pier see").
Nationality: South African.
Birth Place: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Birthday: 7 June 1959.
Resident: Pretoria, South Africa
Both my parents are South African so in 1968 we returned to South Africa and settled in Pretoria. My entire school career was in Pretoria, firstly at Robert Hicks Primary School and then at Clapham High School, where I matriculated in December 1976.
As long as I can remember, my greatest ambition in life was to fly an aircraft. The final event that convinced me that I wanted to be a pilot was in 1971 when dad took me to an air show at the old Baragwaneth airport just outside of Johannesburg. There I saw the Mirage F1 perform an air display that made the hairs on my neck and arms stand up with excitement. So in January 1977 I joined the South African Air Force and applied for pilot training. That day I promised myself I would fly that aircraft, even if it was the last thing I would ever achieve. I have been all over the country with the air force but ever since I joined 3 Squadron in 1984, I have been staying in Pretoria. First in Rietfontein and now in Lynnwood.
For some strange reason I have never been married. Since 1995 I have been working full time. Before that I was running a small garden maintenance business from home for 4 years. It was not mentally stimulating enough for me so in 1995 I applied for a post at an IT company called INFOPLAN. In 1997, I left INFOPLAN and joined a company called QTT (Quality Training Technologies). They specialize in Computer Based Training for Aviation. We are currently writing lessons for Pilot/Navigator/Air Traffic Controller Training for the Air Force. We are also putting the finishing touches to the Pilot Training System (ATCOM) for AFB Langebaanweg. One of our divisions are programming the training for the South African Attack Helicopter, the ROOIVALK.
This was six weeks of testing as there were over 450 applicants that year. In August I was invited to attend a selection board and in September 1977, I was one of 45 young and keen trainee pilots who reported for flight training at CFS Dunnottar.
I was one step closer to my ambition of flying that Mirage F1.
After six weeks of ground training I was finally allowed near an aircraft. My first hurdle - a Harvard. Now I know why there is so much emphasis placed on co-ordination. Just starting the old lady was an achievement on its own.
16 flying hours later and I was ready for my first solo. What a DAY!! Harvard 7203. In March 1978 I finished the initial training on Harvards and it was now time to progress onto the "big boys" - IMPALAS. We were all posted to FTS Langebaanweg for the advance phase of pilots course. Total flying 119 hrs.
I did my first jet sortie 1 month after my 19th birthday. MIRAGEs, here I come! In December 1978 I had the privilege to stand in front of the Chief of the Air Force - Genl Bob Rogers - and receive my wings. Total flying 224 hrs.
Next was officer's orientation course. In those years officers course was completed after flying training. Nowadays it is done before flying training. After Officers Course I was posted back to FTS Langebaanweg as a station pilot while waiting for an opportunity to go on an Impala Operational Training Course (OTC). Total flying 300 hrs. In June 1979 I was posted to AFB Pietersburg for Impala OTC.
Here I converted to the Impala Mk II which is the single seater operational version of the Mk I. Six months and 88 hrs flying later I was operationally qualified. Wingman only. Total flying 388 hrs. Posted to 5 Squadron AFB Durban. Here I spent 4 years during which I completed Flight leaders course, Photo Reconnaissance Course and numerous operational tours in South West Africa (Namibia). Total flying 988 hrs.
In July 1983 I took another step closer to my goal. I was posted back to AFB Pietersburg for Mirage course. Here I had the privilege to fly the Mirage III DZ, D2Z and the single seater Mirage III EZ. It was 75 hours of high speed magic. Maximum speed flown Mach 2.1 or on the day 2125 kph. Total flying 1064 hrs.
In January 1984, 13 years after that air show at Baragwaneth and 7 years after joining the Air force I was finally there. Standing next to that Mirage F1CZ in the hanger was like a dream. All the determination and hard work has finally paid off. Just the conversion course left.
On the 6th February 1984 my dream became a reality. At 10:45, I got airborne in Mirage 214 for my first flight in a Mirage F1. I flew 22 hours that month. What an experience.
I had 3 wonderful years at 3 Squadron and I enjoyed every minute of it. Not many people can claim that they are excited to go to work every day. I could. Total flying 1455 hrs.
Little did I know that it would be the aircraft of my dreams that would change my life so dramatically.
I did a total of 47 combat sorties.
See in the second part of the article, the Arthur´s story of the accident, and the pictures of the crashed Mirage F1CZ damaged by the R-60MK missile of the Major Alberto Ley Rivas´s MiG-23ML, with the Piercy´s commentaries.
This text and photos are from his website, and were corteously permit for our use by Mr. Piercy. Related Articles The MiG-15 in Cuba The MiG-17 in Cuba The MiG-19 in Cuba The MiG-21 in Cuba The Cuban MiG-21 in action Operation Pico: Cuban MiG-21 over the Dominican Republic Cuban MiG-17 and MiG-21 in Ethiopie (Ogaden) The MiG-23 in Cuba The Cuban MiG-23 in action (air-to-ground missions in Angola) The Cuban MiG-23 in action (air-to-air missions in Angola) External Links Cuban Military Forum Cuba en Africa, Guerra de Angola