A New Possibility A New Possibility People suffering from Coeliac Disease and Epilepsy have long given up on becoming pilots in the IAF. But it is possible that they still have hope. Lately, there have been a number of developments on the matter of unusual drafting to the Pilot Training Course

Itay Itamar

Until not long ago, in the IAF and in the world at large, Epilepsy has been a disqualifying factor on the way to becoming a pilot. That said, as a result of recent publications on the matter, it has been decided that people suffering from two particular subtypes of the disease will receive a chance to try out for the IAF’s Pilot Training Course. These are rare cases, that occur in childhood and which’s symptoms disappear until age 15, in 95% of cases.

“It’s been five years since we’ve had a similar case with someone suffering from a particular symptom who was trying out for the Pilot Training Course”, explains Major Dr. Alon Grossman, Commander of the Aerial Clinic in the Aerial Medical Unit. “The IAF has examined the subject of seizures and has determined very particular types with which you can still try to get into the Course. If someone is rejected at this stage, he can appeal and the decision whether to allow him to try out will be reexamined”.

Another precedent took place lately when a boy suffering from Coeliac was permitted to try out for the Course. As a result of the disease, which hinders the ability to digest foods made of Gluten and calls for unique nutrition, the prospective soldier automatically received an official release from the IDF.

“The prospective soldier was disqualified from entering the course, appealed the decision and even reached the Head of the Adjutant General Branch, who determined that this was only a logistical restriction”, says Major Dr. Grossman, “As a result, it was determined that “Hatzerim” Airbase will do whatever possible in order to accept him and allow him the proper conditions for his needs”.

The prospective soldier who suffers from Coeliac Disease paved the way for many others when he was able to try out for the Pilot Training Course. “There are very high regards for people with motivation for combat service. You can’t disqualify them on the spot. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be Commander of the IAF one day”.