Although the main goal of the elite IAF Pilot Training Course is to explore the various spheres of the aviation world, pilot cadets have to overcome many challenges before working up to the sky. One of the obstacles is a paratrooper course which will grant them their first pair of wings
Cadets of the IAF’s Pilot Training Course undergo a treacherous three year course in order to receive their precious wings. Beforehand, they will have to overcome complicated steps that will all pat off when they stand in the graduation ceremony as IAF pilots. “Leaping out of a plane is a very frightening experience. You can’t comprehend everything that goes on around you and your heart races like you never though it could”, shares Major Dan, commander of the basic training squadron.
After weeks of training and preparation at the aviation and special training center, the moment all members of the 171th Pilot Training Course have been waiting for has arrived. One by one, they enter the Hercules and cannot disguise their obvious excitement. After takeoff, all that is left is waiting for their turn to jump. “The door opens; you take a deep breath and leap. After the parachute opens you begin to enjoy the experience”, describes Roey, a pilot cadet who has just received his parachuting wings. “It was over so fast. There is a moment you look at the view, try to scream something to your friends and you already have to prepare for landing”.
The paratrooper course occurs before the cadets have been sorted into specialty aviation courses, and allows them all to experience the thrill of leaping. “It’s very important for them to experience this course and learn basic paratrooper rules, because if anyone has to parachute during emergency–it will be under a lot of pressure. It’s very important for them to know all the steps, how to open the parachute, how to land safely and especially what it feels like”, explains Major Dan. “Its one of the courses we give our soldiers and hope they never have to implement”.