F-16I Crews Become Operational F-16I Crews Become Operational F-16I Crews Become Operational From the moment they complete their Pilot Training Course, new air crew members undergo extensive training processes before first participating in operational activity. Pilots and Navigators from the “Bat” squadron have just completed the arduous path, and cannot wait to take part in the squadron’s operational flights

Shir Golan

Air crew members from the “Bat” squadron finally completed their professional training last week, and have begun operational service after nearly four years of training. After completing the Pilot Training Course, the new air crews arrive at the squadrons, where they undergo an additional ten months of comprehensive training for all scenarios: day-to-day security and wartime.

Throughout their training, the pilots and navigators are taught how to act in any situation, in order for them to be as prepared as possible for their operational service. “We conduct a diverse collection of training sessions for them in which they have to make their own decisions and consider operational mission objectives”, explains Captain R’, an air crew member of the squadron who is responsible for a section of the training. “On the one hand, we wanted to challenge them and on the other we wanted them to emerge responsible and independent. At the end of the day, they are the ones who will have to conduct the missions while controlling the planes’ systems”.

In the week that concludes the training, the crews are tested in an intensive session of flights and in a written exam. “This is a different kind of week for us”, explains Lieutenant Liad, a combat navigator in the squadron who has completed his training. “We walk around in G-suits, go to sleep with all of our equipment and wake up to the sound of the siren calling us to take off. Within five minutes we’re in the air and are on the lookout for the next surprise. It’s a week of great uncertainty, and it’s filled with adrenaline”.

The air crew members are excited to complete the long journey, and await the chance to participate in operational flights of their squadron. “We’ll finally be able to take part in missions, not just training. There’s no better feeling”.