Israeli Air Force Graduation CeremoniesPhotographers: Frank Grealish
/ Sonya Cooley
24th & 26th June 2008Location:
Hatzerim AFB (LLHB), Israel
In 2008 the state of Israel turned 60 and among the events held to celebrate the occasion were larger than usual pilot graduation day & Wings Ceremony day flying displays at Hatzerim Air Base, home of the Israeli Air Force Flying School, Air Force Museum and close to the city of Beersheeba.
IrishAirPics went along to both ceremonies, held on Tuesday 24th June and Thursday 26th June, to cover the flying activities. Both days had similar flying programmes, the only difference being the absence of the CH-53 on Thursday.
Once all the formalities were over the newly graduated officers & pilots threw their hats into the air just as 4 Tsukit's of the aerial demonstration team did a break over the crowd. This marked the beginning of the flying display. The flying display was held in the evening time, close to sunset, making for interesting lighting conditions.
The short flying display consisted of flypast's by most of the aircraft in the Israeli Air Force inventory, aerobatic demonstrations and an air power demonstration.
Unlike the air power demonstrations held by most other air forces this demonstration was performed with real weapons. The firing demonstration consisted of 2 Bell AH-1E Tsefa's firing TOW missiles (4 on Tuesday, 2 on Thursday), closely followed by 2 Boeing AH-64D Saraf's firing their 30mm Chain Gun's and finished off by 4 Lockheed-Martin F-16 Netz dropping 4 inert bombs each.
A Boeing F-15I Raam then performed a spirited flying display firing off copious amounts of flares at almost every turn. The show closed with the Tsukit demonstration team breaking over the crowd one more time.
All in all an enjoyable trip to Israel was had, we also paid a visit to the Air Force Museum which will be covered in another report, hopefully we will be making a return vsit to Israel in the not too distant future.
IrishAirPics would like to thank all the staff in the IDF Spokespersons Unit who helped with our request to visit these ceremonies.