Then and Now: Pilot Training

Receiving Wings, for over 60 Years

Back in the spring of 1949, for the first time in Israel, 16 cadets graduated from the IAF’s Pilot Training Course. 63 years later, nany things have changed, but the caps are still thrown upward with the same enthusiasm
Itay Itamar and Lilach Gonen | Assisted in Preparation: Brig. Gen. (Res.) Offer Lapidot | Photography: IAF Magazine Archive and the Academy’s Video Studio

August 1950, Alon Base. 17 young and passionate teenagers finish a six-month period of flying in the North American T-6 Texan, Fokker, and the Boeing Stearman Kaydet aircrafts. For the first time in the history of Israel and the IDF, pilots are legally licensed to fly. Since, many airplanes have crossed the skies of Israel and thousands of mothers shed a tear while watching their children on the Pilot Training Course’s graduation stage, receiving the long-awaited ‘wings’ pin.
The IAF Website gives you an up close and personal peek at the unforgettable moments of the IAF’s Pilot Training Course.

Then and Now: Pilot Training

 Throughout the years, many significant figures have arrived at the IAF’s Aviation Academy. Various Defense Ministers have climbed onto the airplanes: including Ehud Bark and Moshe Dayan.

Then and Now: Pilot Training

Pilots of the Aerobatic team, dressed in white, before taking off to complete the festive flyover of the graduation ceremony.

Then and Now: Pilot Training

Some things never change: Splashing Pilots after their first solo flight in freezing cold water never gets old. Generations of Pilots had the honor of getting a frozen shower–a tradition that began back in the days of the British Mandate.

Then and Now: Pilot Training

The helicopters welcome the new pilots into the Force.

Then and Now: Pilot Training

In the year of 2010, you can easily spot the new instructional airplane which happened to be colored red and white appropriately for an instructional airplane–the T-6 Texan II.

Then and Now: Pilot Training

Beneath the white smoke of the T-6 Texan II, the new aerial team throws their caps in the air.