On the Way to the Buses that will Take Them to “Hatzerim” Airbase
The Newly Drafted Cadets Hear about the Course from Commander of the IAF
“In three years some of you will stand on a stage and receive wings”
Commander of the IAF Greets the New Cadets Following the recent “Pilot Training Course” ceremony, a new one has begun, Course 169. Amongst the new cadets: A female flight simulation instructor, an IDF volunteer, a commando fighter and a naval commander. Commander of the IAF arrived to congratulate the new cadets
Shir Golan and Itay Itamar | Photography: Yonatan Zalk
For several days, the IAF Flight School seemed emptier than usual, missing the graduates of Course 163. They will now be replaced by the cadets of Course 169, who will need more space: the Flight School will be receiving 300 cadets, the largest draft of the past few years.
“The “Pilot Training Course” is the biggest challenge in the IDF”, began Major General Ido Nehoshtan, Commander of the IAF, in front of the new soldiers and their families. “The course is a family effort. The kids need the support from their families, and I’m not referring solely to home-cooked meals. Everything begins today out of you. Look right and left-in three years some of you will stand on a stage and receive wings, thus beginning your service as air crew members”.
A Greater Attempt of Girls
In the most recent “Pilot Training Course” graduation ceremony, five women marched onstage, but for the IAF the number does not suffice and force authorities are attempting to increase the women’s chances to complete the course.
Until now, at the end of a lecture intended for targeted girls found suitable for the course, 500 were chosen to move on to the next step in the process. In the past several cycles an additional 150 girls moved on as well.
“At the time I was one of the people who decided that at least ten percent of the every course’s graduates will be girls”, declared Brigadier General (Res.) Dan Ganot, former Head of the Adjutant General Branch, who showed up to accompany his young son, Nir, in his first steps of service in the IDF. “It’s not easy as a girl to successfully complete the course, but they do it in the absolute best way”.
Amongst the 24 girls stands Ophir Harpaz, who will be going through basic training for the second time, after beginning her journey as a helicopter flight simulation instructor at “Palmachim” airbase.
Additionally, you would find Hila Perl, a third generation IAF soldier, whose father served as Head of the Ground Defense Wing in the force and whose grandfather served in the past as Head of Human Resources.
Generation after Generation
Together with Hila, another 16 new cadets are successors of IAF air crew members. “I slept well last night”, says Raz Printz, who arrived prepared from home: Not only are his father and brother air crew members, but Raz has also been commanding on Squadron 191, the aerobatic virtual squadron that flies in the spacious skies of the World Wide Web since he was 16. “Now comes the real test for me”, he smiles.
Another cadet, Rotem, recently arrived at “Hatzerim” airbase to celebrate his sister’s, First Lieutenant Noa, graduation from the same course. He will now return to “Hatzerim” in uniform.
Toward the end of February, a Naval Commander Captain will join the current course, as well as a Commando fighter who decided to transition from the seas to the skies.
Additionally, this course includes M’, the first “Pilot Training Course” who is a volunteer for medical reasons, after removing a benign tumor from his leg. “In light of the complicated reality in the Middle East, the State of Israel needs a strong military that will protect it”, concluded Major General Nehoshtan. “This is a national need in an environment that has no mercy. We need more pilots and navigators who not only protect the skies but the lands as well”.