Another step on the path to wings: The Graduates of Flight Course 172 have received their Capt. ranks today, which indicate them officially becoming IAF officers. In 48 hours, they will receive their flight wings

Tal GIladi & Shahar Zorani | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida

This evening, the graduates of Flight Course 172 marched on the parade ground for the last time as soldiers in mandatory service. While the operational aircraft that they will soon operate circled over their heads, the graduates’ officers’ ranks were revealed. In 48 hours they will undergo yet another transformation, and officially become aircrew members.

“Throughout the three year long flight course we prepared you, the graduates, to take part, in time of need, in the protection of our country”, said the Commander of the Flight Academy, Col M, to the young officers and continued: “Our test is often not only the operation of weapons, but the extent to which we do not operate them. Remember wherever you go that you are firstly humans and only afterwards combatants”. Brig. Gen. Avshalom, Commander of Hazerim AFB added: “You join the ranks of the combatants that carry the right of protecting our country on their shoulders. You shall be the spearhead, charged with the fundamentals of combat aviation, values of leadership and command”.

The Graduates of Flight Course 172 Receive their Ranks

Photography: Mor Tzidon

Awesome Responsibility and Might
“We understood your personal and aerial skills in the first months of the course, and over time we searched for those who can do both. Excel on the personal level, be good friends and express a personal, ethical and leaderly viewpoint”, continued Col. M, Commander of the Flight Academy. “As aircrew combatants you will receive great might in your hands. Take the professional, academic and ethical values you brought from your parents’ households and honed in the past three years with you. Bear your duty with the utmost responsibility and humility. See yourselves as leaders and figures that are looked up to. Do not stay still – continue learning, moving forward, and most importantly – continue aspiring”.

The Graduates of Flight Course 172 Receive their Ranks

Photography: Mor Tzidon

The Silver “Steerman” in the Air Once Again
After long and hard process that lasted over a year and that was carried out by three soldiers in mandatory service, three NCOs and a handful of reserve servicemen called in for the mission, this evening, the “Steerman”, one of the IAF’s oldest heritage aircrafts, returned to the air and participated in the aerial demonstration of the ranks ceremony after being grounded a year ago as result of a fire. A year of strenuous work performed by the IAF Museum’s Technical Department later, the “Steerman” took off once again and congratulated the new officers from the sky. “The ‘Steerman’ is a unique aircraft, it is a symbol of pride and demonstrates the IAF’s abilities to maintain a 70 year old aircraft”, explains SNR. SGT. MAJ. Avi Harush, who was responsible for the renovation of the ‘Steerman’. “We knew that we wanted to renovate it for the next generation who will continue to enjoy its unique flight. It was important to us to maintain the aircraft and keep it in the IAF”.

The Graduates of Flight Course 172 Receive their Ranks

Photography: Amit Agronov

Writing Chapters in the IAF’s Heritage
This year’s graduation ceremony theme will be 40 years since Operation “Entebbe” in which the passengers of an “Air France” airliner that was hijacked by terrorists were released. “The operation is a chapter in the IDF and IAF’s heritage. The wings that you will receive the day after tomorrow, are the pen with which you will write the next chapters of the IDF’s heritage”, Brig. Gen. Avshalom, Commander of Hazerim AFB said to the young officers. “Your journey is challenging and you are at its beginning, equipped and ready. Alongside the challenges, you will receive unordinary satisfaction, enjoy the intoxicating landscapes of our country”.

The Graduates of Flight Course 172 Receive their Ranks

Photography: Mor Tzidon