Where did three young men from Scotland, Guatemala and Canada meet? Capt. Yoel, Lt. Noam and Lt. Josh arrived in the IAF’s Flight Test Squadron together a few months ago and will soon become airborne flight test engineers

Vered Talala

“I chose to be here to protect my country. I receive tremendous support in Israel”, said Capt. Yoel, who immigrated to Israel about three years ago and will soon complete his training as a flight test engineer in the Flight Test Squadron. Two other young officers with similar stories will also soon be completing their training: Lt. Josh, who immigrated to Israel from Scotland about three years ago and Lt. Noam, who moved to Israel from Guatemala when he was two years old.

“I missed it”
The desire to “make Aliyah” (immigrate) to Israel was ignited quite early for Capt. Yoel and upon graduating from high school in Canada, moved to Israel for a yearlong period in which he studied in a yeshiva in Jerusalem. Capt. Yoel explained that throughout the year he spent in Israel, his feeling of connection and belonging to Israel grew and he decided he had to make Aliyah. “Once I was exposed to the experience of living in Israel, I understood that I couldn’t give it up and when I went back to Canada I missed it dearly”.

Engineering Dreams

Photography: Celia Garion

“To serve in the IAF”
In his service in the IAF, Capt. Yoel served in IAF HQ for two years and then joined the flight test engineer course in the Flight Test Squadron, where he met Lt. Josh and Lt. Noam. Their common ground came up immediately. Lt. Josh moved to Israel three years ago, left his parents and two brothers behind in Scotland and joined two of his brothers that have been living in Israel for a decade.

Lt. Josh studied Aeronautic Engineering. “As a child I remember being very interested in aviation and when I grew up, it became clear to me that I would pursue a career in aeronautics. When I connected that with Zionism that was always part of me, I understood that I wanted to serve in the IAF”, he shared. “I asked to join flight school and when I was denied as a result of lingual difficulties, I searched for a different field in the IAF that I could specialize in and then I discovered the world of flight test engineers”.

Lt. Noam first heard of the position of flight test engineer during his academic studies. “I had hear about flight test engineers in the past and it sounded like a dream to me. When I drafted, we were acquainted with the IAF and the various positions it offers and then I arrived for a tour of the Flight Test Squadron which was led by a flight test engineer. I understood that I wanted to serve in this place”.

Engineering Dreams

Photography: Celia Garion

Before taking off for the test sortie, the IAF’s flight test engineers must also comprehensively study the systems and build a test program for their examination. The engineers usually also serve as the test managers and upon completion of the sortie, they are responsible for examining the data in order to determine if the IAF should acquire the system or how it should continue its development.

“As part of our training, we were instructed to test a new communication system that is supposed to replace an existing one”, explains Capt. Yoel. “We build a test program, discuss it with the industries and are responsible for the entire testing process and its results. We will ultimately decide if the IAF should acquire it. We recently joined fighter jets conversion training in flight school for two weeks and studied the world of combat aviation. We then learn how to perform various types of tests: there are tests in which the engineer is on the ground and his job is to make sure that everything works as planned and that the equipment is working and there are tests in which the engineer joins a sortie in which he writes down data in-flight, makes sure the pilot performs the maneuvers correctly, tests the systems and malfunctions and solves them”.

Engineering Dreams

Photography: Celia Garion

Everything in Your Hands
“First in uncharted land” is the Flight Test Squadron’s slogan. “The feeling is that we are developing the IAF’s future capabilities. As an airborne flight test engineer, you have the will to delve into details, develop and ask questions”, described Lt. Josh, who at the beginning of his training in the squadron asked its head flight test engineer how new immigrant with lingual difficulties can contribute to the squadron. “He answered: ‘If someone comes to my office from Scotland, I believe he is motivated enough to serve here'”.

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