Ever Wonder What it Would be Like to Fly an F-1 Mirage?

[Updated March 5, 2015]  At MVCS’s meeting last Thursday night, in addition to an action-packed evening of safety training, awards and promotions, squadron cadets and senior members were treated to a special presentation.

Samer Al Rawi, former F-1 Mirage pilot with the Iraqi Air Force, gives a presentation on air combat maneuvers on 26 Feb 2015 to MVCS cadets and senior members.  Photo by 2d Lt. Mark Patrick.
Samer Al Rawi, former F-1 Mirage pilot with the Iraqi Air Force, gives a presentation on air combat maneuvers on 26 Feb 2015 to MVCS cadets and senior members. Photo by 2d Lt. Mark Patrick.

Samer Al Rawi flew the Mirage F-1 as a pilot with the Iraqi Air Force.  Mr. Al Rawi presented a simulated briefing for an air combat maneuvers training flight.  His son Mustafa served as a “simulated wing man” as he used training aids to explain the maneuvers that would be conducted on the mission.

Mustafa Al Rawi looks on as his father Samer Al Rawi demonstrates and aerial maneuver as part of his briefing.  Photo by 2d Lt. Mark Patrick.
Mustafa Al Rawi looks on as his father Samer Al Rawi demonstrates an aerial maneuver as part of his briefing. Photo by 2d Lt. Mark Patrick.

Using pictures from his career as a pilot, he exposed the cadets and senior members not only to a small slice of life as a Mirage pilot, but to how he was sent to France for training.  It was not lost on the audience that Mr. Al Rawi was speaking a third language from his native tongue, having to study to fly the Mirage in French, and now giving a presentation in English.

As part of his presentation, Al Rawi discussed an in-flight mishap that occurred which led to the jettison of his aircraft’s canopy during an air combat maneuvers training flight.  Sustaining an injury which left him flying with one eye, he was also challenged with hydraulic failure to the aircraft’s braking system.  Normally, with brake failure, procedures called for the use of a net barrier to arrest the jet’s landing.  However, with no canopy, this would endanger the pilot and recovery would be limited to parking brake use.  As if these challenges were not enough, following an “uneventful landing,” when ground personnel attempted to insert the safety pin into the ejection seat to permit pilot egress from the cockpit with no risk of activating the lower ejection seat handle, the seat had moved causing a misalignment in the holes and preventing safety pin insertion.  Clearing ground personnel from the area, Al Rawi was able to carefully and safely egress without incident.

The MVCS commander, Lt. Col. Lou Volchansky, presented a NATCAP wing patch as thank you memento to Mr. Al Rawi for sharing his presentation with the squadron.

Samer Al Rawi posing with an Iraqi F-1 Mirage during his time of service with the Iraqi Air Force.  Photo contributed by Samer Al Rawi and used by permission.
Samer Al Rawi posing with an Iraqi F-1 Mirage during his time of service with the Iraqi Air Force. Photo contributed by Samer Al Rawi and used by permission.