The famous enemy combat plane has landed in the IAF museum in “Hatzerim” airbase in mint condition, but not to worry—it won’t leave the ground
For the first time since the “PBY Catalina” arrived at the museum two years ago, the gallery floor has a new purchase: a dual-seat “MiG-21”.
This exact kind of plane served the Egyptian and Syrian Air Forces in training pilots until they were certified to fly the one-seat. It seems that this plane exactly, or one of its friends, took part in the “Six Day” war, the “War of Attrition” and the “Yom Kippur” war.
During the past several months, technical crew members at the museum have been hard at work in an effort to refurbish the plane.
“The plane isn’t suitable for flight, but nothing has been done to try and make it operational”, accentuates Brigadier General (Res.) Yaakov Turner, Commander of the Museum.
After the official reception the new model will join the rows of enemy aircrafts in the gallery: “MiG-15”, “MiG-17”, “MiG-23”, the “Aérospatiale Gazelle”, the “Vampire 1”, “Venom” and an Iraqi one-seat “MiG-21” which was already defected from Baghdad in 1966.
“To complete the collection, we’re only missing two planes”, says Brigadier General (Res.) Turner, “soon we’ll seal the deal with Forces in Eastern Europe, which are willing to transfer a “MiG-19” and a “Su-7″ in exchange for planes of our own”.
As part of the renewal of all the planes in the museum, the refurbishment of the giant “Dakota” plane has finally come to an end. “We can’t drag it to the garage. And our garage isn’t even big enough for it”, explains Brigadier General (Res.) Turner. “It looks like a plane that just came out of the factory, new and shiny. Good work by our technicians”.
The completion of two big projects isn’t enough a reason to rest. Next week, two permanent “stars” of the museum will be performing at “Pilot Training Course” ceremony: the yellow “Harvard” and famous “Stearman” planes, which have been making appearances at every ceremony for 30 years, since the year 1981.