When Pilots are Thrown into Sea

Later, they were instructed to return to shore. By swimming When Pilots are Thrown into Sea

Commander of the Squadron: “Pilots need to know how to deal with uncertainty” When Pilots are Thrown into Sea

Only three people were in on the secret of the unusual exercise When Pilots are Thrown into Sea

Instead of helicopters, they found themselves on Israeli Navy “Dvora” boats New layer… When Pilots are Thrown into Sea

The briefing did not prepare the pilots for what would happen Bell AH-1 Cobra pilots were extremely attentive during the briefing but nothing could have prepared them for what occurred. Instead of helicopters they found themselves on a ‘Dvora’ (class fast patrol boat) in the middle of the sea. When the boat was rushed to Gaza they had to abandon it and jump into the deep water

Shir Aharon Bram | Photography: Yonatan Zalk

Just like at war, the only thing you can expect is the unexpected. Soldiers and officers have to be prepared for every unknown aspect and unplanned event. Members of the “First Combat Helicopter” squadron might be used to rushed operations but this time it was decided to confront them with a true surprise. This unusual training day had one goal: facing the unexpected.

“In order to maintain the element of surprise, only three people around the squadron knew about this day”, says Lieutenant Colonel N’, Commander of the squadron, with a smile. “We prepared for it a month and half in advance, which is how we succeeded in surprising everyone”. The training session, which was kept in the dark was meant to conclude a long period of ongoing practices, focused on unexpected elements. “Part of preparing for this sort of combat scenario is mental, it’s beyond physical abilities”, explains Lieutenant Colonel N’. “Pilots need to know how to deal with unexpected scenarios”.

Where did all the Helicopters Go?

Thus, if we were to summarize the pilot’s long day in one word it would probably be uncertainty. Their morning started early while all pilots were called to report to duty-youngest to oldest and even two deputy commanders of the squadron. After arriving as fast as possible, they were told that no war started, but they have to take off in a short while for a very complex day.

After a short briefing, people of the squadron headed down to the helicopter lane just to find that no Cobras, aviated mechanics or ground mechanics are waiting for takeoff. When they headed back to the squadron, their commander awaited them alongside his trusted people. The three gave a short briefing: “You won’t be going home soon”. Wearing a complete uniform and carrying food on their back, they exit the base, and enter the car that will lead them into the unknown.

The next stop was the Israeli Naval base in Ashdod, followed by the commanding bridge of the ‘Dvora’ boat. After a short sail, the ship received a call to assist an operational mission south of Gaza–but it could not reach the destination with the pilots onboard, who subsequently need to abandon the boat and jump into the deep water. After swimming to shore, they don’t know what next challenge awaits. One thing is for sure, it will be unexpected.