The purpose of the mission was to practice long-range flights to unknown territories
.”In Israel we’re flying above home turf. When flying in international skies, we need to be well-prepared and do things much more slowly”
Three King Airs took off to unfamiliar skies in Cyprus Three King Air B200 planes of the “Light Transport” squadron took off for a long practice flight from Tel Aviv to Larnaca in Cyprus. “Flights like these leave no room for mistakes”
At 9:20 in the morning, the first King Air (“Tzufit”) took off on its way. Destination: Larnaca, Cyprus–a 6000 year old port city. From there to Paphos, the mythological birth place of the Goddess Aphrodite, and back to Tel Aviv. Two King Airs followed the first one on the long-distance flight, marking over 300 Kilometers on their way to the Mediterranean island.
The purpose of the special flight was to train members of the “Light Transport” squadron, who conducts daily observation missions, intelligence collection and electronic warfare in long-distance flights to new locations. The open skies, which in Israel are as familiar as the palms of their hands, are entirely foreign. “In Israel we’re flying above home turf”, explains Lieutenant Yoav, one of the pilots, minutes after landing. “When flying in international skies, we need to be well-prepared and do things much more slowly”.
When the expanse of the flight ranges further than the borders of Israel, the experience takes on new colors.
The weather is different, winds blow strangely, the view is painted by unfamiliar colors and the communication language suddenly shifts to English. The crews of the “Light Transport”, which has often been called to far range flights, need to be very familiar with the experience of flying in foreign skies, in order to conduct the mission in real time. “When flying through international skies, every mistake turns into an international event”, explains Lieutenant Tal, whose flight to Cyprus sealed his certification as a co-pilot on international flights. “This is why we have a lot more responsibility and much less leeway for mistakes”.