One year after defecting from Gaddafi's regime, Libyan Air Force Mirage F1s bid farewell to Malta

Feb. 21, 2011 – Feb. 22, 2012: one year after defecting to Malta, the two Libyan Mirage F1s returned to Libya.

Wearing the roundel and flag of Free Libya, the two aircraft, that had performed engine runs  in the last weeks, followed by a high speed taxi on RWY 05/23 at Malta International Airport on Monday, departed from runway 31 and performed a flypast to bid farewell to the Maltese Islands before heading south toward Libya.

The pilots that brought the Mirages back home, were Col. Alial-Rabti and Col. Abdullah al-Salheen, the same that had defected from Gaddafi last year.

Interestingly, the radio callsign used by the Mirage flight was both “Eagle Formation” and “Libyan Air Force 217” with the latter paying tribute to the day the revolution started: Feb. 17 (2-17).

Thanks again to Brendon Attard for the images in this post.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.