The new landmark at the Prospect street entrance.

The South African Air Force retired all the Mirage F1-CZ aircraft from service in 1996 and one of the F1’s was allocated to the University of Pretoria. This aircraft was first housed in a laboratory in the Engineering building and then moved to a store room in the Technical Services building during 2001. During 2008, Sci-Enza expanded and the store room area was incorporated into the centre; therefore the Mirage had to move out.

The Mirage F1 is an engineering marvel and permission was granted to mount the Mirage in front of Sci-Enza to promote Science and Technology at UP. The Mirage F1 is clearly superior to its predecessor, the Mirage III because it has a shorter wing span but can carry up to 40% more fuel, has a shorter take-off run, a superior range and significantly improved manoeuvrability. This aircraft therefore suits the University’s image of innovation.

The Mirage was in pieces and had to be assembled before it could be put on a plinth. (The engine was send back to the SA Air Force.)

With the help of the SA Air Force Museum in Swartkop, the Air Force Servicing Unit at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, Mirage specialists from Aerosud in Hoedspruit , Lona Construction and Intermine Agencies the Mirage was restored to its original glory. All these participants gave their contributions, time and knowledge absolutely free of charge.

The project finally came together on Monday, 10 May, when all the different role-players got their experts, cranes and sophisticated equipment together to mount her on the plinth! This Mirage is going to become a real landmark on campus!

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