Behind the Scenes: The IAF’s Aerobatic Crew Behind the Scenes: The IAF’s Aerobatic Crew Behind the Scenes: The IAF’s Aerobatic Crew The Israeli Independence Day has arrived and the aerobatic team members are preparing for the festive event. If you are excited about seeing pictures from the show, know that you are not alone: air crew members tell us about what might seem easy from down here, is the product of much anxiety and effort up in the sky

Lilach Gonen

This week, in keeping with long-held tradition, hundreds of eyes will look up and watch the spectacular aerial show put on by the IAF’s aerobatic crew. Four of the T-6 airplanes will roam the skies in perfect synchronization swiftly and beautifully, as awed voices deafen the sound of their white smoke trail.

The stunts carried out by the aerobatic team may seem simple, but flying in low altitudes, only small distances from one plane to the other is not an easy task; every mistake could be fatal. “I think that many people don’t understand it and the flight appears to be relatively simple to them”, says Major Eyal, Commander of the Instruction Squadron of the IAF Aviation Academy, who’ll be maneuvering a T-6 in the back formation. If you know how to fly in formation it seems as if you only have to keep the structure as it is, but it’s definitely not as easy as it looks”.

Since the aerobatic crew’s goal is separate from the operational squadrons in the force, its members also approach their mission in a different manner. “You have to adjust yourself into thinking how it all looks from the ground”, says Eyal. “The whole idea is that you have to fly in a manner that appears impressive when you’re watching from the crowd–that’s the opposite way of what they teach you in a combat squadron. There it doesn’t matter if you fly in an aesthetic way, you just have to complete you mission–even if you do it in an aggressive or less elegant way”.