1985 was not a good time for the RAAF’s Mirages – three had already crashed in the Northern Territory earlier in the year and three weeks after Quaife’s accident a RAAF pilot and his Mirage aircraft disappeared without a trace.
In an interview at the time with the ABC TV Quaife stated
Quaife later stated: “I think it was a challenge to fly, and those who got to fly it were pretty proud we were Mirage pilots.”
The unmanned aircraft conducted a controlled landing on the mudflats and was recovered largely intact. The Mirage was acquired by the Aviation Historical Society of the NT and remained at the Darwin Museum on display until October 2001 when it was loaned to No.75 Squadron for restoration and display purposes during the Squadron’s 60th Anniversary in 2002. It was taken by Chinook helicopter to the RAAF Base Tindal where it was refurbished by 75 Squadron for static display at the Darwin Museum. It was returned to the Aviation Heritage Centre of Darwin on 23 November 2005 where it is currently on display.
Background information: The Mirage 111O was Australia’s front line fighter from the early 1960s when it replaced the Sabre through to 1989 when it was in turn replaced by the F-18 Hornet.
The Mirages were built in Australia under license to Marcel Dassault – the airframes at the Government Aircraft Factory at Fishermen’s Bend, Victoria and the engines being manufactured at the nearby Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation.
For more technical detail, see Wikipedia.