New IAF flight training course begins

A week after most recent graduation ceremony, 300 cadets start their journey at IAF flight school

Date: 04/01/2012, 4:40 PM     Author: Shir Golan, Itay Itamar, IAF Website

For several days, the IAF Flight School seemed emptier than usual, due to the absence of the graduates of Course 163. They will now be replaced by the cadets of Course 169, who will need more space: today, the flight school received 300 cadets, the largest draft in recent years.

“The flight training course is the biggest challenge in the IDF (Zahal),” IAF Commander Major General Ido Nechushtan told the new enlistees and their families. “The course is a family effort. The kids need the support from their families, and I’m not referring only to home-cooked meals. Everything begins today from you. Look right and left – in three years some of you will stand on a stage and receive wings, and begin your service as IAF aviators.”

At the most recent flight course graduation ceremony, five women marched onstage and the IAF wants that number to rise. The IAF is taking steps to increase the chances of women to complete the flight course.

Amongst the 24 new female enlistees is Ophir Harpaz, who will be going through basic training for the second time, after beginning her journey as a helicopter flight simulation instructor at the Palmahim airbase.

Also, there is Hila Pearl, a third generation IAF soldier, whose father served as head of the Ground Defense Wing and whose grandfather served in the past as head of Human Resources.

Together with Hila, another 16 new cadets are the next generation of IAF families.

“In light of the complicated reality in the Middle East, the State of Israel needs a strong military that will protect it,” Maj. Gen. Nechushtan said. “This is a national necessity in an environment that has no mercy. We need more pilots and navigators who not only protect the skies but also the land.”