The Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lieutenant General Yvan Blondin, arrived in Israel last month. During his visit to airbases and the headquarters of the force, the Commander learned about the challenges his Israeli counterpart faces, and examined the areas of interest shared by both forces.
Despite the stormy weather that hit the State of Israel last month, the Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lieutenant General Yvan Blondin, landed for a very important visit to the IAF, which was designed to examine the areas of interest shared by both forces. During his visit, he met with Commander of the IAF, Major General Amir Eshel, visited several airbases and learned about the challenges with which the force must contend.
Upon his arrival at the Hatzerim airbase, the Commander of the Canadian Royal Air Force was impressed with the training of the IAF aircrews. One of the interesting differences between the two forces is the integration of women in the aircrews of the force: While in Israel, the number of women who finish the pilot course every year is in the single digits, in Canada, women constitute about a quarter of the whole army. “One of our ambitions is to integrate more women into the pilot course”, Commander of the Airbase, Brigadier General Tal Kalman told the senior Canadian commander. “Up until 1995, when Alice Miller petitioned the Supreme Court, asking to try out for the pilot course, women could not even try out. Nowadays, women constitute about ten percent of the draftees in the pilot course; a smaller percentage finish”.
The relations between both forces are warm and longstanding and they find common ground on many issues, from the challenges of force-build up to the platforms and joint training sessions. Before the Commander’s visit, many top-ranking senior officers of the Canadian air force visited Israel in 2013, from the Chief of Staff to the Head of Weapons Department. Lieutenant General Yvan Blondin’s visit marks the end of an intensive year of visits to the Israeli Air Force, including eight commanders of foreign air forces.