When Pilot Cadets Go Back to School When Pilot Cadets Go Back to School When Pilot Cadets Go Back to School

“The academic aspect of the flight course is uncompromising”


An integral part of the Flight Course is the cadet’s studying period. A special review in honor of the International Students’ Day

Noa Fenigstein | Translation: Eden Sharon

Hundreds of cadets, flight instructors, soldiers and commanders attend the flight school in Hatzerim Airbase with one target: Training the next aircrews of the IAF. Members from Ben-Gurion University are also taking part in an important phase of the qualification of the cadets – the undergraduate studies.

Together with the flying studies, the cadets are required to take academic courses in Physics, Mathematics and Aerodynamics and 18 months after the beginning of the course, they start the “educational year”: An intensive year of studying in which the cadets put a hold on the flight classes and return to school.

“The academic aspect of the flight course is uncompromising”, says Professor Nava Pliskin, Head of the flight course academic program on behalf of Ben-Gurion University. “For three years and especially during the educational year (the lion’s share of the studying) the cadets are becoming students in all senses”.

“The mindset we cultivate”
The professors teach the cadets for many long hours and guide them throughout the undergraduate studies.
“In most air forces in the world, pilots have academic degrees and it is for a reason. University education broadens the mind and provides many skills for life”, explains Professor Pliskin. “For example, three out of four studying programs contain management courses, which will help the cadets further as commanders”.

The educational year is not less intensive than its previous training year. The cadets are required to complete three semesters in just one year. The optional majors are Mathematics & Computer Science, Economics & Management, Information Technology and Politics, and Governance & Management.

“The recruits do not ask to join the pilot course because of the academic studies. They come because they want to become first class aircrews”, clarifies Major Roee, Commander of Educational Squadron in the flight school. “Nonetheless, we encourage our cadets to excel in the academic stage as well. The desire to become the best you can is the same in running, swimming, studying and flying. That is the mindset we cultivate”.