Sherut Ha’avir purchases planes in South Africa

 

A substantial number of Jewish South African pilots had joined the ranks of Sherut Ha’avir, and it was decided to look into the possibility of purchasing aircraft in that country as well. One of the pilots from South Africa was Boris Senior, who served as a fighter pilot in the South African Air Force in WW2, and who now went to work – together with Hagana representative Yoel Palgi, on the purchase of planes.

The two examined the possibility of purchasing 50 single-engined P-40 ‘Kitty Hawk’ fighters, which were offered them at a symbolic price by a group of Jewish traders, but the expected difficulties in bringing them to Palestine caused the idea to be scrapped.

Palgi and Senior turned to other, civilian sources and managed to purchase two DH-89 Rapides, one Anson, three Fairchild Arguses, two Beechcraft Bonanzas and five Dakotas. The planes were registered under the names of various companies so as to avoid suspicion, and began arriving in soon-independent Israel in early May 1948.

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