In about two weeks, they will stand in the parade ground and receive their Lt. Ranks and flight wings. A moment before, the cadets performed their final and deciding test in flight academy – the concluding flights

Tal Giladi | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida

They fastened their seatbelts, put on their helmets and took off for the final test sortie of flight school. Upon their landing, the cadets officially concluded the flights of the long course and next time they step into a cockpit, they will be air crew members. This week, the cadets of flight course 172 in the fighter division, performed their concluding flights on the “Lavi” (M-346) instruction jet which constitute of their final test as flight cadets, a moment before the receiving of their officer’s ranks and coveted flight wings that they will receive in about two weeks.

Flight School Cadets Took Off for their Final Test

The IAF Commander and a Cadet about to take off | Photography: Mor Tzidon

Flight School Cadets Took Off for their Final Test

Photography: Mor Tzidon

The important sortie, which constitutes of the final validation of the succession of the exhausting three year course, were escorted from the backseat by senior IAF pilots led by Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, IAF Commander, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, Commander of the IDF Planning Directorate, Maj. Gen. Hagi Topolansky, Commander of the IDF Manpower Directorate, Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar, Head of the IAF Aerial Operations Directorate and many other senior aircrew members attended the briefs and debriefings, flew with the cadets and gave the future pilots a fatherly pat on the back and a few tips for the road.

Flight School Cadets Took Off for their Final Test

Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, Commander of the IDF Planning Directorateand a the Cadet he tested | Photography: Mor Tzidon

A Lesson in Flight
How do the cadets deal with the natural pressure entailed in their concluding test? How do they deal with the replacement of the familiar flight instructor with a senior officer like the Commander of the IAF? “There is no doubt that in a sortie such as this, the pressure is greater than in any other. Last week we simulated it, what helped me stay calm”, shared Adi, a cadet in the fighter division. Adi’s concluding flight was escorted by Brig. Gen. Avshalom Amosi, Hazerim AFB Commander. “It is a great privilege to learn from the experience of central figures in the IAF and receive tips and direction from them about the essence of flight and not just about things that we deal with daily in the course”.

Flight School Cadets Took Off for their Final Test

Maj. Gen. Hagi Topolansky, Commander of the IDF Manpower Directorate | Photography: Mor Tzidon

In the concluding flights, which are held for cadets from all divisions – transport, fighter and helicopter – the cadets demonstrate all of the abilities and content that they learned throughout the course and sharpened in the advanced stage such as flight in formation, Air-Air combat and dealing with emergency situations. During the concluding flight, the cadets are faced with every possible malfunction, a new mission they did not receive on the ground or simulated emergency situations, in order to examine the way they function in uncertainty.

Flight School Cadets Took Off for their Final Test

Photography: Mor Tzidon