Combat Pilot by Day | Painter by Night Combat Pilot by Day | Painter by Night Combat Pilot by Day | Painter by Night Although we may have a very structured image of pilots, not all have only an outstanding mathematical mind. First Lieutenant Iftach for example, tossed aside numbers and equations and focused on his greatest love: art. This week, after he had the opportunity of hanging up his paintings all around the IAF Aviation Academy, he will receive his wings

Lilach Gonen

First Lieutenant Iftach didn’t arrive at the Aviation Academy in order to shatter a stigma but did just that: apparently not all graduates of the IAF aviation course are lovers of math physics and computers. In fact, Iftach is the exact opposite. “I hate it. I hate sitting and dealing with numbers”, he says. “The only time I like sitting is when I paint”.

Iftach’s artistic gene didn’t stop him from graduating the physically challenging course, and this week he will be receiving his wings and become an official IAF combat pilot. The aircraft stick might seem new but he has been holding a paint brush for many years. “I have been painting ever since I could remember myself”, he says. “When I was in high school, I chose to major in technology. Pretty quickly I realized that it wasn’t something I wanted to peruse so I left that class and majored in art. I basically switched between a subject I could handle and one I actually want to do; it was the best choice I ever made”.

Paintings of a Combat Pilot
A muscular eagle dressed in an aviation overall holding a helmet roams the walls of one of the old building in the combat section located at the aviation academy, looking fiercely over the new pilots. This painting is hung directly across the symbol of ‘combat formation phase one’ showing an innocent chick emerging from an egg shell. Turning the walls of the aviation academy into canvases is only a bit of the many creative ‘gifts’ Iftach worked on during three years filled with exams, navigation exercises and many scribbles. “I didn’t have much time during the course to sit and draw and almost all of my drawings from the past year describe things that are related to this place”, he says.

Amongst some of the ‘future pilots to be’ you can find Iftach’s little sister, N’. In a year she is destined to become an IAF combat navigator. Nowadays she studies in the academy and arrives for exercises on the same exact airplane as he brother practiced on. “It’s great for me to have someone to talk to”, Iftach shares. “We understand each other. Serving in the army together, going through this whole experience together strengthens our bond even more”.

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