17 October 2007

M for Mirages and a mouse

The Black Widow
What is it about jets that cause them to attract so much attention? Is it the raw power, or the speed, or the look…..? Whatever it is they have me hooked.

These pictures were taken at the Port Elizabeth Air Show in October last year.



The Black Widow as she is called, is the only flying Mirage III CZ in the world. In other words, she is the last of the South African Mirage CIII’s still flying.


The Mirage IIIC, a single-seat interceptor, first flew in October 1960 and was used in French Air Force until 1988. It was exported to South Africa and designated the Mirage IIICZ. These jets are used in many air forces around the world and they contributed to the success of the Israelis in the “Six-Day War" of 1967 (for those of us who can remember that far back).



Some of the specs for those who are interested are - speed: Mach 2.2; ceiling: 59,055 ft; range: 900 nm; fuel consumption: I don’t know – just glad that I don’t have to fill her tanks
Click on the picture for a really good view of her lines

I went to boarding school in a village called Settlers, on the Springbok Flats about 100 kilometres north of Pretoria in the Limpopo Province. It was there, in the early 1960’s that I first saw the Mirage.



Settlers was on the flight path to the air force base at Pietersburg, so they often flew past. Sometimes one would stop by and give us an aerobatic display. Occasionally we would hear the sonic boom as one broke the sound barrier.

If a Mirage flew past when we having lessons, the boys would all leap up and run to the windows to catch a glimpse of it – for some reason the teachers (even the old dragons) we quite tolerant of these disruptions to the lessons.



Over forty years later I still run out if a jet flies past – some things will never change.

The Black Widow is maintained by the South African Air Force Museum and long may she fly.

And a mouse.......................
Who can resist a mouse, especially a little striped field mouse. This one was photographed at the Addo Elephant National Park hoping for a hand out.


In case you are wondering what the relationship is of the field mouse to the Mirage, it is simple - neither hang around long enough for you to compose your picture. Locate........point,,,,,,,, shoot..... and hope for the best.

28 comments:

dot said...

What an intersting post! The plane is a beauty and that mouse could pass for a squirrel. I've never seen one with a stripe before.

Anna said...

same here I never seen a mouse with a stripe before, lol. I love the air planes, I think I would change my mind if they showed up around here. I used to have this friend in engineering, that used to draw F15, so I have collection some where. Anna :)

Suzi-k said...

wonderful mirage pix.... the raw power as she blasts past is so cool (yeah yeah I know... global warming and all that, but I still can't help getting a kick out of experiencing it!) Anna, how cool, It would be great if you could post some of those drawings, must be so fascinating!

kml said...

I love the jet landing - great job!

I added you to my blogroll for ABC Wednesday.

karoline said...

max..for me it is the tremendous amount of power. its the feeling i get in my chest that it's about to explode from the bass rumble that shakes me inside out...

they make me feel trivial when it comes to strength..

k:))

WalksFarWoman said...

That's a BIG mouse Max! :)

I like your Mirage. I live on the RAF flight training path so I see planes all day every day but just this week I've seen a black and gold jet which I don't recognise. It's definitely not one of ours - could it be yours?

Max-e said...

Hi dot
These are very common little mice. I believe they are also easily tamed. They certainly know how to look cute and ask for handouts

Max-e said...

I cannot resist going to see the Mirage Anna. It is one of my favourite jets. I'd love to see the F15 drawings

Max-e said...

Suzi-k this old lady sure is coooool :)

Max-e said...

Hi kml, thanks for stopping by and for the comments. As you can see there are no hi-speed shots. Those all ended up being blurs or blue sky. I like the landing one as well

Max-e said...

Karoline I take it you are talking about the Mirage and not the mouse :)
You have actually described it very well. I think it is awesome when they come past just below the speed of sound. They don't break the sound barrier in cities any more. When the Black Widow made her debut flight in the mid 60's she broke the sound barrier over Durban and caused a lot of damage.

Max-e said...

Hi WalksFarWoman, the field mouse is not that big - actually quite small... between a rat and a mouse, only it is cute :)

I guess living on a flight path has its pros and cons. Noise and planes.

We once lived on a flight path used by Alouette helicopters. Our dog had great fun chasing them. She never forgot the sound of an Alouette. Years late she would ignore all aircraft, but would run out barking if an Alouette flew past.

Oswegan said...

Nice Mirage story max, I'm an old Navy Airman so I like that kind of stuff.

But that other thing looks like a varmint to me!

Darn vermin . . .

~Oswegan

Peter M said...

Fascinating subject are planes, for me it is the sheer power, noise they make and the feeling of being able to get somewhere rather quickly, love the mouse too

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

You have striped mice?? Wow. I wrote a post about Jimmy, our uninvited guest a little while ago. Canny little buggers they are.

As for flying,, (smile)

Sweet post.

Neva said...

I love your "M/s"!!I would not have thought of either of these!!! Nice shots..

Lynette said...

The mouse is cute, but I've gotta tell you, I love the photos of the mirage, plus your text that goes with them. Those lightning bolts on its side are grand.

Thanks for visiting my ABC Wednesday post.

mrsnesbitt said...

Wow!
We live quite near to Flyingdales, so we often get aircraft passing above us...like today!

D

Max-e said...

Oswegan, the Mirage is one of my favourites. By the way what planes did you fly?

The striped field mouse may be a varmint but I don't think it is regarded as vermin, as it lives maily in the wilds

Max-e said...

That raw power is quite something Peter M. One of the moves is to go into a vertical climb and within seconds it just disappears, then it reappears at ground level from a direct you least expect.

Max-e said...

Hi Carol, I will definitely look up the story of Jimmy. These little guys get quite tame and will even take food from your hand if you are patient enough.

Yes, I do recall seeing pictures of you in your flying gear - the 80's was it?

Max-e said...

Hi Lynette
Thanks for stopping in. Glad you liked the post. I will add you to my ABC bloggers list

Max-e said...

Hi Neva
Thanks for your comments. The Mirage was planned a while back, the mouse came as an after thought. I kinda like them

Max-e said...

Hi Denise
You certainly seen to stay in an intersting place, with a lot of variey. Thanks for tne comments

karoline said...

lol@mouse...of course i was talking about the jet..lolol..

;)k

Max-e said...

Sorry Karoline I could not resist that one :)

Lex said...

I live in SA too, Bloemfontein to be exact and we have a whole pack of these mice living in our garden, in fact just yesterday we had a little female cart in 9 of her little ones. This is strange as this species of mice don't really come indoors

Colleen said...

Looks like a very old chipmunk to me