By Lord, Dick (Deceased)
The Story of the Mirage F1 in the South African Air Force
Their hands are shaking ever so slightly. They will be flying again in the morning
234 x 153 / 6 x 9
56 colour photos, 200 b/w photos, 12 maps, diagrams
Aviation / Military / African Studies
Vlamgat, literally ‘flaming hole’ in Afrikaans, was the nickname the South African Air Force (SAAF) gave to the Mirage F1, its formidable frontline jet fighter during South Africa’s long ‘border wars’ in South West Africa (Namibia) and Angola from the late 1960s to the late 1980s.
Battling Soviet MiG-21s over African skies, the ‘Vlammies’, the Mirage pilots as they were affectionately known, acquitted themselves with distinction and honour.
Vlamgat is a gripping account of these pilots and their deeds of bravery; their experiences are authentically related with accuracy, humour and pathos—by the author, himself a Vlammie. As Willem Hechter, former Chief of the SAAF, says: “Vlamgat deserves a place of pride in the long history of this, the second oldest air force in the world.”
“… Perhaps it is the early morning chill that awakens them. They are mostly young—but combat is a maturing process that can change a youth into an adult overnight.
… At last they are suited up and have completed the briefing. The weapons are loaded and the aircraft are serviceable to fly. The pilots forget the anxieties and tension of the early morning hours.
… The peace of the morning is shattered by the rising crescendo of the engine noise.
… Then they are rolling into a steep dive upon the waiting target. Their hands inside their gloves are sweating; their mouths are dry”
- How a small, organized air force could defeat communist insurgents and massive conventional Soviet-backed forces
- A detailed, accurate reference work, at the same time highly readable and entertaining
- Foreword by Lieutenant-General Willem Hechter, former Chief of the South African Air Force
- The first edition (Covos Day, 2000) sold 10,000 copies within 6 months before the book went out of print. Demand for a new edition has been intense
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