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«The pilot learns all his life». Interview with Israel Baharom after the tragedy at the airbase «Ramon»

Israel Baharav – Brigadier reserve, combat pilot, squadron commander. The first sortie was made in July, 1966, was bombed a district of Banias in Syria. Since then participated in all of Israel’s wars. The champion of the Israeli air force by the number of downed fighters «MiG». He held the posts of chief of air force intelligence, head of strategic planning Department of the IDF. In 2003, condemned the pilots who refused to bomb Arab terrorists. He has three children, two of whom are combat pilots.

Interview with I. Baharom published after the tragic incident at the air base, «Ramon» in the Negev, where 7 Aug crashed Apache helicopter. Killed the pilot reserve major David Zohar (43), the second pilot was seriously injured.

— The crash of military helicopters in Israel in 1971-2017 years

How are the teachings of the military pilots urgent and IDF reserve service are there between them and «conscripts» fundamental differences?

The main difference between military pilots-reservists from those who bear the military service, is that they are much less fly. They live their normal lives, and once a week come to the base. In this they are not like other citizens, they have one day a week less because they have to be at camp. And pilots emergency services are on the basis of, in his squadron on a daily basis. A military pilot needs to always keep in shape and combat readiness, that is why reservists are to the base once a week unlike members of other branches of the services whose fees are usually held once a year. Pilots are constantly training, it is impossible to prevent big breaks between flights.

Different training courses and exercises for pilots of helicopters and military aircraft?

The difference is that these people control different aircraft, piloting helicopters, military helicopters and combat aircraft are radically different. For example, military helicopters like Apache is able to perform flights in all weather conditions, which means that you need of exercises and training in such conditions. A large part of the training missions takes place at night, but, thanks to modern equipment, creates a feeling of natural flight. In addition, flights are very close to the ground, at a height of a few meters to be in an optimal position to conduct the shooting or identify the target. It requires a very high piloting skills and constant training. And the military planes fly at high altitude, their piloting has different complexities and characteristics. Of course, there are many common to all pilots, aircraft sometimes fly solely on instruments, but they never descend so low as the helicopters. This is a completely different specialization, but the skills required are similar.

How can you ensure the safety of pilots during training flights?

There are no guarantees and can not be, but you should always strive for maximum security. There are two main causes of accidents. The first is the human factor. When the pilot asked to do things that seem impossible, then trying to perform the tasks, people can make a mistake and cause an accident, the scale of which differs from case to case. To prevent such errors one should fly often and maintain a great fighting form. Air force leadership is constantly instructs, examines all such cases, because each flight is fully fixed on the instrument, which allows you to understand what happened. Pilot error are examined to avoid repeating them in the future. There is another cause of accidents is mechanical failure. These problems are solved differently. In case you have any problem, being tested all the flying vehicles, which potentially may experience a similar fault, and if you want to replace any part, change it. I would say that the safety as on the level of service and skill level of the pilots, is in charge of the priorities of the air force.

Modern technologies used force, often reminiscent of science fiction or the most complex computer games, they have huge advantages. But if there are no hidden flaws?

All the new technology, designed to further improve our air force, this is a big advantage. They give pilots the opportunities that they had no new equipment, due to the fact that many of the problems now are solved on a high technological level, pilots can do much more than before, the opportunities increase. Our pilots can only solve the security problem. Of course it constantly requires new skills. First, the pilots are trained on a three-year course, where they receive primary training, and then learn two to three years, on a specific flight apparatus. Every time there is a new system, its long and carefully studied. I would say that the pilot learns life.

As a military pilot keeps secret their specialty in normal, civilian life?

Usually they don’t roam the city with a sign on his chest «I am a military pilot». And although we live in a small country, knows this is only the closest friends and family. In addition, military pilots – people self-sufficient, they do not need to constantly tell others about their adventures. They have achieved a lot in life, they are very confident and they do not need to assert themselves in public.

The number of accidents over the past year increased or decreased, what are the statistics?

In recent years we have seen a decrease in the number of accidents, if you look at this aspect globally. We are constantly improving, and it made me very happy. However, you cannot reach a point where accidents will never happen again. This is a very dangerous profession, requiring maximum effort from the pilots and the highest level of modern aircraft. We are on the edge of technology and on the brink of human capabilities. Being on the edge of possible, constantly balancing over the abyss, we must understand that accidents are inevitable, but we learn from our mistakes not to repeat them in the future.

Text and photo courtesy of project «Pro national security». Published in the framework of the information partnership

«The pilot learns all his life». Interview with Israel Baharom after the tragedy at the airbase «Ramon» 10.08.2017

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