FAB Mirage III Retirement
14 Dec 2005
On December 14, 2005, the Brazilian Air Force officially retired its Dassault Mirage III (F-103) from operational service. In a ceremony overflowing with emotions, four F-103s performed a series of flypasts over the Anápolis AB runway and one aircraft broke the sound barrier over the Air Base. It was one of the greatest moments of the event.
Emotions overwhelmed part of the guests, when group of pilots walked in the direction of the shelters, to board their fighters. Among the GDA pilots were three of the very first Brazilian Mirage III pilots, the reserve Colonels Ivan Von Trompowsky Douat Taulois (Jaguar 05), Thomas Anthony Blower (Jaguar 07) and José Isaías Vilaça (Jaguar 08); In 1972, these three pilots were part of a team of eight Brazilian pilots (the Dijon Boys) who went to France receive the new Mirage IIIs acquired by FAB and to graduate as Mirage III instructors.
Each one of the three Dijon Boys took off in the rear seat of the three FAB F-103Ds, followed by a single F-103E and performed many flypasts and manoeuvres over the Air Base. The emotion came out when the pilots left their aircraft and told everyone that they were very luck guys, because they had begun and ended three decades of Mirage III operations in Brazil.
After the historic flight, the F-103E FAB-4910 was covered with a grey cover marked with the special badge of the 33 years of Mirage III operations. The Mirages still continue flying until December 31st, when they will make their last operational flight in Brazil.
Report by Leandro Maldonado