After three years of rigorous training in the IAF Flight Academy and an operational training course in the “Flying Tiger” Squadron, the rules change for the “Tip of the Spear” Squadron’s newest aircrew members
The “Tip of the Spear” Squadron’s new pilots and WSOs are currently undergoing a conversion training period for the “Baz” (F-15), which, upon its completion, will make them operational air crew members. They arrived at the squadron after three years of flight school and a long operational training period and they are first in the squadron to undergo conversion training from the “Lavi” (M-346) to the “Baz” (F-15).
“The new pilots and WSOs arrive at the squadron better prepared than we were after training on the ‘Ayit’ (A-4 Skyhawk). As a result, the training period in the squadron has been shortened to six months of conversion training and four months of operational training”, shared Capt. Yaniv, Commander of the Conversion Training in the Squadron. “In conversion training, they learn about the aircraft, experience its systems for the first time and perform a solo flight. They also practice aerial combat, air strike sorties and basic night sorties, while emphasizing the fundamentals”.
The Path to Operational Training
After completing their training in flight school, the fighter pilots begin the operational training course, which is performed on the “Lavi” (M-346). The OTC is six months long and prepares the pilots for the IAF’s operational missions. They then complete a second six month training period, called the advanced operational training course, on the same aircraft.
Upon the integration of the “Lavi” (M-346) in the IAF, a new training concept was developed, according to which fighter Weapon Systems Operators will also undergo a training period in the instruction squadron: operational WSO training course, a six month long intermediate stage between flight school and integration in operational squadrons.
“We arrived at the squadron from operational WSO training course in the ‘Flying Tiger’ Squadron, which provides advanced training for flight school graduates from the fighter division”, said Lt. Ron, a participant of the first ever operational WSO training course. “I really wanted to be positioned in the ‘Tip of the Spear’, it’s a squadron with a glorious 40 year history which operates an interesting and challenging aircraft. I talked with friends from flight school who were positioned in various squadrons throughout the IAF and I have no doubt that the atmosphere in the squadron is exceptional”.
Between “Lavi” and “Baz”
The arrival of the “Lavi” was a significant step forward for the IAF: it provides the IAF’s young pilots with complex systems from an early stage of their training. Nonetheless, the young air crew members that recently arrived in the squadron have already felt the power of the “Baz”. “It doesn’t have a radar, or missiles and bombs, but it simulates them virtually”, Lt. Bar, who is currently undergoing conversion training, referred to the “Lavi”. “So we were exposed to very advanced material in a relatively early stage”.