Ouragan

An inexperienced victor

The Ouragan was the first fighter Israel bought from France. By the end of 1956 the IAF had about 30 Ouragans, which relieved the Meteors in patrol and interception-readiness duties.

On April 12th 1956, Lt. David Kishon went out on his first operational sortie. "There were a lot of incidents at the time in which Egyptian Vampires took off from El Arish and penetrated Israeli airspace", recalls Kishon - now a Major in the Reserves. "We sat in readiness at Hatzor. We waited, from first light to sunset. That day, in the twilight hours, my Number 2 and I were scrambled and the controller directed us to the Sde Boker area. I was a young, inexperienced pilot, with only a few hours' experience on the Ouragan. Above Makhtesh Ramon, we discerned a pair of Vampires flying into Israel. We pulled upwards and approached them. I closed in on one of them and sent a long burst at him from very long range. Seconds before I broke away I saw that his wing had lit up and that the whole plane was burning. The Egyptian pilot turned downwards, hard, and I lost him. Imeediately afterwards, I turned sharply too, when the second Vampire tried to 'sit' on me. My Number 2 tried to intercept the Vampire, but he managed to take evasive action and he got away.

"After landing, we were informed that the second Vampire had carried out an emergency landing at Ovdat. The Egyptian pilot was taken captive, and was released in the POW swap after the Sinai Campaign. I never got to meet him, but the other pilots took him on a trip to Haifa before he was released. I was overjoyed that a rookie like me had managed to shoot down a plane - and doubly proud, because this was the first kill by an IAF Ouragan".