Know where you came from: Meet the ancestors of the IAF’s aircrafts

proto-type of the “Lavi” Know where you came from: Meet the ancestors of the IAF’s aircrafts In honor of the international father’s day, the IAF Magazine gives a close look of some older versions of the force’s current aircrafts. How would have the helicopter looked like if it was manufactured back in the 15 hundreds? What was the first UAV? What was the first Israeli prototype?

Shani Poms

The technological advancement reached all parts of the IAF, and its systems are renewing in a dizzying pace. In honor of the international Father’s day coming up this week, we attempted to peel off layers of technology from various aircrafts and checked- how did the prototypes of current aircrafts looked like?
What is the difference between the original version of the aircraft and the advanced tools used today? The IAF Magazine gives you a peek at some family trees which belong to active IAF aircrafts.

UAV, 19 hundreds version
The IAF considers UAVs a relatively “young” generation of aircrafts, after a formation was established in 1971. Although, the first UAV which was seen roaming the sky 200 years ago, in a form of a hot air balloon without a pilot. The idea was conjured by the Austrians in the middle of the 19th century, who asked to attack Venice with 200 unmanned hot air balloons containing time operated bombes.

Proto-type made in Israel
The “Lavi” plane, which was developed in the eighties by Israeli Aerospace Industries didn’t manage to make its way into IAF. Nonetheless, its proto-type did manage to reach the skies. After the first model of the “Lavi” was revealed in January 1985, the plane took off for its successful debut, manned by Menachem Shmul. “The plane that took off on the 31st of December, 1986 was an excellent plane. It surpassed our expectations and everyone who flew on it praised it, both for its flying quality and its comfort”, Menachem Shmul explained in the past to IAF Magazine.
Later, the industry developed two additional proto-types of the plane, in order to improve it: Unlike the first proto-type, the aircrafts that were produced after it were also equipped with avionic systems, underbelly drop tank and refueling hose. The third proto-type of the “Lavi” remains at the Israeli Aerospace Industries and sometimes is used in experiments of different technologies.

From Da Vinci to Sikorsky
The “ancestor” of the helicopter was probably the “Air Burg”, designed by Italian Renaissance man, Leonardo Da Vinci in the 15th century. Although there is an enormous difference between the ancient model and then modern helicopter, it appears that they are based on a common principle: Like the helicopters nowadays, Da Vinci’s model rose to the air through quick rotations cutting the air. Leonardo didn’t fulfill his vision and his sketches never became actual aircrafts. Since the days of the Renaissance, a number of inventors in the 20th century tried to build models of helicopters, among them brothers Barga and Igor Sikorsky, who are considered to be the fathers of the helicopter. In 1939, they introduced the first usable helicopter.