In preparation for the landing of the “Adir” (F-35I) in Israel, the “Golden Eagle” Squadron aircrew members have taken off for conversion training for the stealth fighter. They face four months away from home, in which they will learn how to fly the jet and operate its systems. “It has now become tangible”

Zohar Boneh | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida

The aircrew members of the “Golden Eagle” Squadron, which will soon receive the “Adir” (F-35I) fifth gen stealth fighter, took off for Arizona, U.S.A, in order to undergo conversion training for the stealth fighter which will soon land in Nevatim AFB. “It is a new stage, it has now become tangible”, said Lt. Col. Yotam, the squadron commander.

“We have a dual duty there”, he continued, “on one hand we need to study the plane at the highest level, so that when we come back we will be able to operate it optimally. On the other hand, we represent the Israeli Air Force and the state of Israel, so we must demonstrate utmost professionalism”.

“Adir” Conversion Training, Here We Come

Photography: Lockheed Martin

“The future of the squadron will affect the entire IAF”
Four aircrew members from the “Golden Eagle” Squadron took off for the four month long conversion training, which will be held in an AFB in Arizona. Throughout the training period, the crew will fly about 40 hours in an American simulator which simulates the aircraft’s abilities. “In accordance with ‘Lockheed Martin’s new training concept, the simulator perfectly simulates the aircraft and it abilities”, shared Lt. Col. Yotam.

Is it possible to be ready and fit to fly the “Adir” when training only in a simulator?
“Like the ‘Adir’ that is expected to land in Israel, the jet in Arizona is also single-seated, so in any case, the transition between simulator flights to real flights will be very independent”, explained Maj. Matan, the “Adir” Training Center Commander and one of the aircrew members who left for the conversion training. “Because the simulator simulates reality almost tangibly, the transition will be smooth”.

Alongside flying in simulators, the participants will also receive theoretical studies. “We performed a kind of preliminary conversion for ourselves – in the past months we studied from documents we received so when we arrive, we will be able to cut straight to long-term significant learning and not hear the material for the first time”, shared Lt. Col. Yotam. “We know that what we will do in our conversion training and the places we will go will significantly influence the future of the squadron and the future of the squadron will affect the whole IAF”.

“We will do everything there, from acquaintance with the basic systems and to studying the tactical systems”, elaborated, Maj. Matan, “There will be pilots who fly the F-35 and instructors from the international training center. We must learn from their experience so that in the future we will be able to move the training center to Israel, a thing that we hope will happen until 2018”.

“Adir” Conversion Training, Here We Come

Photography: Lockheed Martin

A Significant Step and a Great Challenge
In addition to the four squadron members, Col. Eyal, who will soon assume the role of Nevatim AFB Commander, will also join the mission to the U.S for a partial conversion and the Simulator Officer to be, who will join in order to learn about the simulator itself, that will be integrated in the IAF in 2017. In fact, this is only the first class of the conversion course and in November, a second delegation which will include two pilots from the “Golden Eagle” Squadron and a test pilot is expected to take off for a similar conversion.

How does one command a squadron from 2,000 kilometers away?
“Because we are located in three centers: the aircrew members in Arizona, the technical personnel in Florida and the squadron itself in Nevatim AFB, we have created various systems to help us bridge the gap”, answered Lt. Col. Yotam.

“Adir” Conversion Training, Here We Come

Photography: Lockheed Martin