Catch me if You Can Catch me if You Can Catch me if You Can In the last six months of the IAF’s aviation course, the future combat pilots begin learning about combat planes. In order for the meeting to be complete, the cadets faced the A-4 Sky Hawk and flew to the northern Ramat David Airbase where they conducted training sessions around the clock

Michal Khayut and Shir Cohen

After two and a half year of learning all about aviation, IAF combat pilot cadets left Hatzerim Airbase and headed out north to Ramat David Airbase for intense training sessions which increased their familiarity level with combat planes, their partners for the next year.

In the last stage of the IAF Aviation Course, the cadets had to accumulate as many flight hours as possible, and enhance their knowledge of the airplane they will fly on in the next few years. In six months they will be standing in their graduation ceremony, and this is their opportunity to acquire experience on the combat plane they will be flying with, before becoming official aerial team members. “The cadets are deploying to a place where the sky is relatively open, in order to be able to fly as much as possible”, explains Major Tal, Commander of the advanced progressing stage of the course. “Since the cadets don’t have much experience aviating combat planes, it’s important to do as much as possible in the short time we have”.

So far, the pilot cadets in training have only flown on the “Efroni” plane, but now they have to learn how to deal with the challenge of a fighter jet – and so they are becoming familiar with the “Skyhawk”, a veteran combat plane. “There is a big difference between the ‘Skyhawk’ and the ‘Efroni’”, says M’, a cadet in the advanced combat course. “At this point, we are coming in contact with a fighter jet for the first time. It is much more powerful than the “Efroni”.

In order to adapt to the “Skyhawk” jet, the cadets and their commanders spend many long hours doing hard work with the planes. From sunrise to sunset, they learn about low altitude flights, photo reconnaissance missions, and managing malfunctions in the fighter jets. “This is very intensive work”, explains Y’, who is also a cadet. “We fly alone, but we have to be even more alert during the many flights, because you could find yourself dealing with a malfunction on your own. These training exercises give me confidence in the plane.”