A Controller, an air crew member and a communication system are the total factors that can prevent a disaster. A moment of close attention is enough to prevent an aircraft crash and a moment of concentration can save a plane from being shot down. “You saved the lives of two pilots. You’ve warned us of a nearby enemy plane which could have taken us down”, said an air crew member to his controller friend during the air crews-controllers cooperation course, after simulating a flight.
The cooperation course aimed at strengthening the bond between the soldiers and achieving a higher operation quality. During the course, three controllers from the IAF Control Units left their routine work and joined the “Bat” squadron in Ramon Airbase, which operates the F-16I jets, for three whole weeks. “The Control Division works with the entire IAF”, said Lieutenant Idan, a controller in the Northern Control unit. “But the most intensive cooperation is with the fighter jets because we are in charge of approving their takeoffs”.
A Sense of Joint Responsibility
Throughout the course, the controllers and air crew members worked together under one roof. They woke up to the same briefing and finished the day with a joint debriefing, all in order to improve the cooperation between them and effectively the operational efficiency of the IAF.
“There is a saying that the controller is the number five pilot in the aerial formation”, said Lieutenant Idan. “When you sit in the Air Control Unit you do not always feel it, but here we managed to get exposed to each other’s work and the sentence suddenly got new meaning”. During the three weeks of the course, each controller flew back-seat in a number of sorties and the air crew members alternatively underwent instructions in the field of broadcasting and study of the control systems. “We met with our colleagues and understood how their work impacts the air crew members and how we can be of help in that process”.
The intensive studying days deepened the relationship between the sides, built the needed mutual trust and imbued the participants with a sense of responsibility.