The People Who Turn Cadets into Pilots

In front of their eyes, hesitant cadets morph into pilots The People Who Turn Cadets into Pilots

The instructors accompany the cadets on navigation trips, journeys and exam flights


The People Who Turn Cadets into Pilots

“I’m always thinking about what happened in my course, about the flight experiences most memorable to me”


The People Who Turn Cadets into Pilots

These intructors remember well what it’s like t o be a cadet Only a few years they were also fearful cadets, but today they are back at the aviation academy: confident and full of experiences with one goal in mind–instructing the next generation IAF pilots. IAF Magazine talked to the flight instructors right before the 2012 IAF aviation graduation ceremony

Lilach Gonen

The IAF Pilot Training Course is an experience accompanied with intense mystery and uncertainty. For three whole years, pilot cadets wonder whether they’ll have the chance of standing on the stage as at the graduation ceremony or attend it as audience members. The people who go through the entire process of infantry training and long walks through the desert, instructing them during rough challenges and testing their abilities up in the air–know exactly what it all feels like. Only a few years beforehand, they were cadets who had not a clue what the next day had in store.

Commanders and instructors of the aviation academy are all aerial crew members who went through the same exact course, faced the same hurdles and succeeded with the same experiences. “I think about my course all the time”, says Captain Yuval, a combat instructor leading his first course. “I mainly think about what was good and helpful in my course, what helped me, my first flight experiences. I think a lot about what bothered me when I was in the course, like interactions and relationships, in order to help my cadets”.

Turning an 18-year-old into a Combat Pilot

After a certain period at the operational formations, several pilots are chosen to instruct at the aviation academy. They go back to the same school where they spent so many hours as cadets, and an entire separate instructional course: a bit of psychology, heritage, and unique flight stunts. They carry a heavy load of responsibility on their shoulders–training the future generation of IAF pilots. The instructors get to observe the transformation from insecure cadets to confident aerial crew members, much like themselves.

“You have to know when and how to intervene during a flight”, says Captain Yuval. “You have to take into consideration what the cadet wants to improve on. The biggest difference is that until that day everything was about you. All your training sessions took place so that you could become a better pilot. Now it’s different: You aren’t the center of things, your students are”.