Since the desertion of a Texan plane in 2010, the IAF has felt the need for another instuctional plane
American pilots disembark after dozens of flight hours The coming fall didn’t prevent one T-6 Texan II from making its way from the United States to Israel. During early September, the aircraft exited the factory and after logging thousands of miles and takeoffs around the world, it was welcomed to its new home at the IAF
The red and white colors are shinning as the airplane nears the underground hangar. Usually a tired instructor and an enthusiastic cadet step down from the little aircraft, but this time they were a pair of exhausted American pilots, in their 40s. We can’t blame them from being so tired: During the past two weeks Jim and Ken have been landing in different countries every day, getting closer each time toward their final destination–here–the dry, southern part of Israel.
“Every time I come here I feel very satisfied”, smiles Ken Mellnis, who has crossed oceans in the past couple of years in order to bring the new instruction airplane to the IAF aviation academy.”It’s a privilege for me to transport this aircraft to Israel and contribute to this significant industry”. Along the way they stopped at almost every continent: United States, Canada, Iceland, Europe and finally Hatzerim Airbase.
“Each T-6 Texan II Produces Many Flight Hours”
Ever since the T-6 Texan II airplane abandonment two years ago, the Aviation Academy felt a significant need for an additional instruction airplane. The new T-6 Texan II that landed in Hatzerim Airbase is destined to take the place of the lost one. “Each plane produces many flight hours”, says Major Y’, commander of the ‘Primary Combat Squadron’, a stage of the Pilot Training Course. “At this point cadets fly a lot; they need a new plane to fulfill the need”.
In previous times, instructional aircrafts arrived in groups and structures, this time, the plane arrive on its own with Ken and Jim navigating and dealing with the difficulties along the way. “When we flew over the Atlantic it was minus 50 degrees Celsius”, says Jim. “We didn’t turn on the heat in order to conserve fuel, so we put on warm clothing and flew with the sunrise to get as warm as possible”.