UAV Course Number 26 has come to an end and new operators will be joining the evolving operational division. Of the graduates: first operator of Ethiopian Decent, Combat Pilot who was repositioned and son of an IAF Squadron Commander
Eylon Tohar | Translated by: Ofri Aharon
The UAV Division will integrate new operators. UAV Course Number 26 Cadets will receive their Operator wings and their Officer ranks as their six month course comes to an end. They will continue their training in the operational course for the next three months before they become UAV Operators.
For the first time: An Operator of Ethiopian Descent
Lt. Elad from Kiriyat Gat, who with receiving his Operator wings became the first Ethiopian decsent Operator. Deputy Elad studied in religious schools until and transferred to the Technological School in Beer Sheba and from there continued to serve as a helicopter technician in Hatzerim Airbase. His commanders saw him as persistent and he received the opportunity to go through classification stages entering the IAF’s Pilot Training Course even though he did not pass these stages before he drafted.
When he was discharged from IAF Pilot course after a year and a half, he stayed optimistic. “My friends were surprised by my complacent attitude after being discharged from the course”, he shared. “I left the Pilots-Course mostly with a sense of satisfaction for the significant period, in which I experienced real flight time for six months. I would do it over again”.
When he was discharged from Pilots Course, he had a few options: he could go to Operators Course or ATC Unit, or he could be released from his military service. “When I considered the option of staying in the army, I realized that I would not only gain a profession, but the chance to give back to my country”.
Today, he will join the UAV Operators and has asked to send a message of hope to those who see him as a role model as the first Ethiopian descent UAV Operator. “I am not pretending to represent anyone but myself, but if anyone sees me as a role model and if my story has a positive effect on others, the honor is all mine. Even if I must serve as a symbol”, he said. “If there is one thing I learned, it is that if I want to achieve something it is just a matter of time until I will be able to achieve it. You can always advance to the places you want, even if not everyone supports you and even if your choices seem limited, you must care for yourself. If someone can learn that from my story – the gain is all mine”.
How does a Combat Pilot become a UAV Operator?
Together with Lt Elad, Capt. Roei will also be graduating from the course and his story reflects those of Air Forces around the world. He also arrived at the UAV operators course after already acquiring courses and trainings and one could identify him by looking at his pair of pilot-wings, which he received at the end of his combat pilot course and a UAV Operators wings which will accompany him in his new job.
“I finished the Pilots-course and continued to serve as a combat pilot. After a while, I decided to turn to the world of UAV”, shared Capt. Roei.”The UAV Division is only growing and it is just a matter of time before it becomes the leading division in the IAF. That is where our future is and we are building it now”.
The Father: Squadron Commander, the Son: UAV Operator
For Second Lt. Rom, who also finished the six-month course, his acquaintance with the IAF started at home. As a child whose father was the “Test Flight Center” Squadron Commander in Tel-Nof Airbase.
“The fact that I am ‘the son of’ helped me”, he admits. “I felt a lot of pressure during the Pilots-course, as every step I took was judged because of the simple fact that everyone has known me since I was a child. When I arrived at the UAV Operators course, I no longer had the pressure of being compared to my father and the fact that he is my father became an advantage because he always knew how to support me and give me the advice I needed”.
In the beginning of his military service, he went in his fathers’ footsteps and completed a year of Pilots-course, however, after he was discharged from the course and went on to UAV Operators course, he found real satisfaction.
“I wanted to be a pilot because it was the only thing I knew of. I wasn’t familiar with combat Land Forces, but since I can remember myself, I had my eyes on combat aircraft and I knew everything about the IAF”, he shares. “I am not looking for praise in my Pilot wings, rather to give the most I can”.