Back to School

Pilot Cadets during their academic training year Back to School

Good at math? Not necessarily Dreaming of becoming a pilot? Even if you’re horrible in Math, spend most of your time out with your friends and are known as the class clown–your way toward the wings might not be lost

Mai Efrat

Nowadays, they are known as leading Formation Commanders of the IAF, deep in the heart of the Force’s operational missions with significant responsibilities on their shoulders. That said, before they completed their Aviation Course they too were students waiting for the recess bell to ring. In honor of going back to school, we asked them to reminisce about that period of time and tell us a bit about their characters as students. Ready to shatter some myths?

Not All Pilots are Math Fans

Although some admitted they tool a special liking to the mathematical subject, science led the ‘Most Hated Subjects’ list that the pilots completed. So, if you’re not comfortable around numbers, fear not. The most popular subjects were History and the Jewish Studies. “These subjects hold breathtaking stories”, explains Lieutenant Colonel Itamar, Commander of the “First Squadron”, “No author or screenwriter could have invented them”.

A+? Not necessarily

you probably imagine pilots at the top of the class. This hypothesis was found to be only semi-true. “It’s not easy to admit, but I was extremely geeky. I would get tears in my eyes for less than a 95”, shares Lieutenant Colonel Matan, Commander of the “Defenders of the South” Squadron, “Sadly, in high school it wasn’t like that at all, I was not an A+ student”. Other Commanders agree with the fact that after Middle School they had a slight downfall. “I had good grades until High School but laziness got the best of me”, admits Lieutenant Colonel Amir, Commander of the “Knights of the Orange Tail” Squadron who indicates that he was a class clown.

Teacher’s Pet

You might have already gotten the impression that Formation Commanders weren’t perfect students. Aside from grades, which weren’t always dazzling, they admit to being argumentative, to disturbing class and to a lack of willingness to spend most of their time in the company of books (most of them preferred sports). Anyhow, they all got along well with their teachers. “It’s mainly how we were raised at home”, clarifies Lieutenant Colonel Itamar, “Show respect to the people around you, especially if they are older than you”.

Aiming High

When we asked the Formation commanders If they had dreams of becoming pilots when they were students, we got a definitive answer: Not at all! “I dreamt of becoming an infantry corps fighter like my father”, reveals Lieutenant Colonel Itamar. “My dream began when I got into the examination process”, he adds.

Revenge of the Nerds

If you, unlike the commanders, are already dreaming of flying a plane- -they have a few tips for you. “The main suggestion–your future starts now!”, says Lieutenant Colonel Itamar. “Don’t act in a way that might close door for you in the future. Invest all of your efforts into school and try to graduate in a respectable manner, so that you can choose and have options in the future– nothing that could commit to a small area of interest”.
“Strengthen your studies, especially the scientific topics”, ensures Lieutenant Colonel Matan and adds a tip of his own: “Don’t underestimate the nerds–they are the ones who will one day become pilots or elite fighters–and that’s a guarantee”.