Pilots for the Day Pilots for the Day Pilots for the Day Children of the IAF’s bereaved families don’t only celebrate their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, today they were in for a special treat that included a jeep trip and simulator training

Mai Efrat

Many children choose to celebrate their Bar or Bat Mitzvah in creative ways. Sometimes, the usual dance party is substituted with hiking treks or a farmhouse celebration. That said, it is only suitable that IAF tweens celebrate with a special flight, which they carefully planned themselves, up above in the skies of Israel.

It was today’s headline. A day planned by the department’s members especially for the children of bereaved families in the force. The ‘IAF Kids’, as they have been named in the force, visited Palmachim airbase today, where they were in for many surprises.

After experiencing the aircraft gallery on ground, the participants eagerly arrived at the “Rolling Sword” squadron to plan their flight on the “Blackhawk” helicopter. “We need you to help the State of Israel in an intelligence flight”, Captain Yonatan, one of the pilots of the squadron, told the tweens discreetly. “Your mission is to recognize targets from the air, like the Knesset and ‘Teddy’ stadium”. After checking the weather, calculating the amount of fuel needed and peering thoughtfully at the aerial photographs, the ‘IAF Kids’ took off for a flight in the Jerusalem skies. “We’re very excited about our visit here, flying in a helicopter is so cool”, said Lior Bar David excitedly, “The view is amazing also. I wish I’d thought to bring a camera”.

The smiles stayed on the kids’ faces as they embarked on a jeep trip in the airbase’s area, and grew even wider as they participated in a special exercise at the Simulator Squadron where they were allowed to fly the “Blackhawk” themselves. “This is a special year for every one of you, and an exciting event for us”, said Brigadier General Ilan Boger, Head of the Adjutant General Branch of the IAF. “We see you as a part of the IAF family and will continue to follow your growth”.