The New Pilot Training Cadets

Future Pilots? Private Ronit and Private Erica The New Pilot Training Cadets

“We’re very happy that you’re here” The New Pilot Training Cadets

Commander of the IAF with Corporal Ronit The New Pilot Training Cadets

Captain A’: “It’s a childhood dream” Hundreds of new cadets began the new cycle of the Elite IAF Pilot Training Course, hoping to make it all the way to the graduation ceremony. There were women and men, orthodox and non-observant, teens who recently finished school, and an executive officer of the Intelligence

Shir Golan | Photography: Yael Harari

For the young cadets of Pilot Training Course 170, the long journey toward the wings began this morning. Hundreds of candidates who succeeded in every classification stage–health exams, aviation simulator, and psychological tests arrived at the induction center bright and early. Amongst the enlisting crowd were 20 women and 20 IDF executives who ended up at the course from various units within the IDF.

Captain A’ (26), for instance, arrived from the 8200 Intelligence Unit. His father operated as a combat navigator of ‘The First Squadron’ and was held hostage in Syria during the Yom Kippur War. His younger brother also joined the Pilot Training Course recently. “If everything goes as planned, I will finish the course six months after him”, says A’ with a smile. “I went a long way to get to this moment and I did it thanks to my determination and persistence. It’s a childhood dream of mine and maybe I can finally make it come true”.

Private Erica, daughter to an American father and a Japanese mother, also recruited today after completing a whole other course: An IDF Judaism Conversion Course called ‘Lane’, as a determined and focused woman: “I want to become an F-16 combat pilot”, she states with a smile. “I want to carry the responsibility on my shoulders”.

Private Roni, who is also a potential pilot, holds different dreams. “I want to be a combat helicopter pilot, it fascinates me. My expectation is to reach the graduating ceremony in three years. It begins with hope and a dream but I’ll do my best to make it come true”.

The young recruits were received by no less than Commander of the IAF, Major General Amir Eshel. “We’re very glad to see you’re here, starting this journey”, congratulated Major General Eshel. “It’s a captivating road, not an easy one, but definitely possible. It’s no secret that many begin this course and only a few graduate, but you are present because we believe that you qualify. There are certain characteristics that air crew members share and not everyone has them. What is a pilot? Is he a fighter? It makes no difference if it’s in the air, ground or ocean: It’s the ability to face our threats”.

A moment before they began the enlistment cycle, Commander of the IAF wished them luck. “Give it everything you’ve got in order to succeed within the limited borders we hold. If you thrive, you’ll become the strongest link in the defense chain of Israel”.