Reconciliation - 25 years ago I was paralyzed after my Mirage F1 fighter crashed following a combat mission in Angola! Now its time to get back in the saddle!
PARTICIPATE OR CONTRIBUTE NOW
My name is Arthur Piercy and I reside in Pretoria, South Africa. I was a combat pilot for the South African Air Force flying the interceptor French Mirage F1.
In September 1987 in the south of Angola I was involved in a dog fight with two Mig 23's from the Angola Air Force. My aircraft was damaged by a missile fired from one of the Migs.
On landing the aircraft back at base the aircraft failed to stop and overshot the runway, hit a rock which in turn set the ejection seat off prematurely and I was ejected from the aircraft. Unfortunately the parachute failed to open before I hit the ground and I broke my neck. I am now a C6, C7 quadriplegic.
Being disabled has not been easy and I find it extremely difficult to stay positive however I have chosen to continue living life to the fullest.
To "put my money where my mouth is" I started a project which I now call 'Project Dreamwings.'I am trying to build an aircraft - specifically adapted for my disability - in which I want to fly around the world hopefully inspiring and motivating people to reach for their dreams. For more detail see www.projectdreamwings.co.za
Phase 1 of Project Dreamwings
However I need to do some personal reconciliation first before I complete the above project. I would like to meet the Cuban pilot/s that were involved in the combat incident on that day. (Yes they were Cuban Pilots and not from Angola) I have managed to track them down! Despite my disability and hardships I've been through I don't hold any grudges against them and I believe it would fantastic for my mental well-being to meet them face to face. All I really want to do is chat about the love of flying that we all so passionately share. Actually if I can have my way I would like to have the Mig 23 Pilot join me on a leg of my round-the-world flight I am planning! (Phase 2 and 3 of Project Dreamwings)
I have been in contact with the pilot although it has been through a 3rd party purely because of the language barrier. He is also very keen on the idea and has agreed to meeting with me!
Now unfortunately I do not have sufficient funds here at home. My military and disability pension is actually insufficient for me to really survive on which means I really don't have the funds to go to Cuba nor do my friends in Cuba have the funds to come to South Africa.
It would mean the world to me to be able to show how important reconciliation is not only within the South African environment and the history we have been through, but through out the world where there has been mistrust and conflict. Reconciliation in our country is desperately needed and I am hoping that by leading the way I can make a small start in changing the way we think firstly here in South Africa and secondly through out the entire world.
What I Need
This is really all very new to me so I want to do this fund-raising in Phases. What I really need for Phase 1 is to raise funds so that we can fly them out to South Africa for this reconciliation meeting. While here I would like to take them to see my Project. I would like to take them to see the flight simulator that was made of my actual aircraft's cockpit. see www.dooley.co.za/Mirage.htm Then I would like to take them on a scenic tour of our magnificent country.
Naturally this would require further cost for transport and accommodation. I am also planning to have the entire campaign video recorded and package as a short documentary film which can be used for future motivational speeches.
I will then ensure that there is a blog/webpage set up together with a Facebook / Twitter page that will document and film the entire meeting and keep all the contributors up to date with our progress.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you cannot financially contribute then I would humbly request you forward this plea to your entire mailing list and help us spread the message of reconciliation around!
Or you can go to my personal facebook page http://facebook.com/arthur.piercy and leave me some encouragement and motivation. Alternately go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Dreamwings/196951912369 which is the newly created Dreamwings facebook page and click the 'like'button!