Geoff Thomas

While waiting to take-off and display the Aerostar MiG-21bis Lancer III, Israeli pilot Yehuda Shafir sometimes finds time for a few moments quiet contemplation.

His thoughts invariably turn to the irony of his current position.

Shafir is a US-trained fighter pilot who spent his active service life in the Israeli Air Force - many years and hundreds of training hours - flying F-4 Phantoms and F-16s, where his primary purpose was to defend his homeland against... MiG-21s and their more modern brethren!

Once the take-off roll begins, Yehuda Shafir's thoughts turn to his performance in the skies over Le Bourget which - despite the restrictions imposed by the organisers - he enjoys immensely.

"I try to display the upgraded MiG-21's new capabilities," he says. "The modern avionics system drastically reduces the pilot's workload and Elbit's helmet mounted systems are a great help in orientation around the airfield."

Still a Lieutenant Colonel (reserve) in the Israeli air force, Shafir is 40 years old.

Upgraded by Romanian company Aerostar and their Israeli partners Elbit Systems, the MiG-21bis on display in Paris has been transformed into a modern, high-performance multi-role aircraft.

Once it has completed its international sales and marketing and display trips, it will be put up for sale by Aerostar and Elbit.

Source: Flight Daily News