10/31/2007. In September 1960 the French AF had selected the Dassault
Mirage III V supersonic VTOL combat aircraft, to be built jointly by
Dassault and Sud-Aviation. On February 2, 1961 the DTIA (Direction
Technique et Industrielle de l'Aéronautique, Directorate of Aviation
Technique and Industry) ordered the experimental vertical take-off
Balzac V to prove the feasibility of the novel engine configuration
in, and to develop the control system for the Mirage III V.
The wings and vertical tail surfaces of the original Mirage III 001
prototype were married to a largely new fuselage. It was powered by
eight 2,160 lb (980 kg) Rolls-Royce RB108 lift jets and a 4,400 lb
(1,996 kg) st Bristol Siddeley Orpheus B.Or.3 turbojet. The Balzac V
made the first tethered hovering flight at Melun-Villaroche on October
12, 1962, with René Bigand at the controls followed by the first
horizontal flight on October 18. The first transition from hover to
horizontal flight was made on March 18, 1963.
The Balzac V crashed on January 10, 1964, killing the pilot, rebuilt,
it crashed again in September 1965, the piot was killed, and the
aircraft damaged beyond repair.