Libyan Air Force
القوات الجوية الليبية

Dassault Mirage 5D


Monday, 26th November 1984

Nasser Air Base
1st Lt Saleh Sharf Abdulwafi


1st Lt Saleh Sharf Abdulwafi in front of his Mirage 5 aircraft at Mitiga air base*, November


1st Lt Adulwafi took off from the Nasser Air Base, Libya, on the morning of Monday 26th November 1984. The weather conditions were good  during the routine peacetime training flight.

His single seat Mirage 5 aircraft was a development of the Mirage IIIE adapted for the fine weather conditions of the Middle East. During the 1970s France had delivered around 110 of these delta wing fighter-bombers to the Libyan Air Force.


At about 11:00 he was approaching the runway at the end of the flight when his aircraft became uncontrollable due to hydraulic problems.


The aircraft was nose down and rolling. Saleh had little choice but to eject from the stricken aircraft. At less that 100 feet from the ground and travelling at around 300 knots he pulled the ejection handle and ejected through the canopy.  


His use SEMMB License built Martin-Baker ejection seat at low level near the Tobruk air base saved his life. Despite successfully ejecting 1st Lt Abdulwafi suffered back injuries due to the ejection forces and going through the canopy.


He recovered and continued his career with the Libyan Air Force.


*Mitigia Air Force Base was formerly the USAF Wheelus Air Base


Saleh Abdulwafi in 1984 before his ejection



In 2009 Saleh was the
administrative coordinator
LAVEX 2009
 that showcased Libyan Aviation



All photos via Saleh Sharf Abdulwafi, used with permission.

Project Get Out and Walk 2009