The graduates of Aviron’s first pilot course
On April 5th, 1939, Aviron’s pilot course was renewed at Afikim, with Imannuel Tzukerberg (Tzur) – the company’s head pilot – and Ernest Rapoport as instructors. The course was planned along the same lines as British Mandatory courses for private pilots’ licenses, and included exercises in flight control, medium turns, overhead patterns, and emergency landings. The final test required a minimum of 10 flight hours with an instructor and three solo hours. Tzukerberg also gave the lessons in ground skills. All nine cadets, six of whom were members of kibbutzim (communal settlements) in the Jordan Valley, completed the course successfully.
On July 20th 1939, the graduation and wings ceremony was held in Afikim’s airfield. The ceremony began with a trumpet fanfare and the raising of the blue and white flag, and ended with ‘Hatikvah’, the national anthem. Among those present were representatives of the Jewish flight establishment in Palestine, and of the British Mandatory Government. The nine pilots were Avraham Mahol, Yosef Ofin, Ya’acov Tiroshi, Yitzhak Henenson, Yitzhak Nul, Uri Breier, Yosef Krupinsky, Avraham Beitner and Emil Pohorile.