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IAF Jobs You Haven’t Heard Of Release date 28.01.2018
These are the unique Israeli Air Force positions that you haven’t heard of
Eynat Ravid

The External Pilots
External Pilots are an inseparable part of the RPAV (Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicle) Division, responsible for manual operation of RPAVs during takeoff and landing. When the aircraft is on the runway, the external pilot is responsible for its operation, which is taken over by the RPAV operators in the mission station once the aircraft takes off.

“I sit near the runway and operate the aircraft with a joystick, while the mission commander in the mission station is responsible for communicating with the control tower”, explained Sergeant S’. “My squadron is like my second family. I chose this position because I felt that I could do more here than anywhere else”. 

External Pilots are an inseparable part of the RPAV Division | Photography: Celia Garion

The Meteorologists
The IAF’s meteorology unit is manned at all times by soldiers who are trained as meteorologists, and officer-weathermen who undergo the IAF’s forecasting training course – the only one in Israel. The IAF’s meteorology center knows and follows the weather conditions in every relevant theatre and airbase, and updates the squadrons with any relevant changes. The unit’s personnel operate around the clock, create long-term weather forecasts by means of statistical analysis, and develop the forecasting systems operated by the unit.

“Even though I have been involved in forecasting for years, I am going through the official program here”, shared Private E’. “This unit provides a community of people in Israel, who are interested in forecasting and meteorology, with an opportunity to utilize their interest for operational needs. It’s a unique role, different to any other job which supports the IAF’s operational activity”.

The unit’s personnel operate around the clock | Archive Photo

The Loadmasters
Loadmasters are aircrew members, unique to the IAF’s tactical transport squadrons, who are responsible for the aircraft’s cargo hold. They are, among other things, responsible for maintaining the cargo hold’s balance, calculating the load and operating the cargo hold’s systems.

Photo Courtesy of Lt. B'

Upon acceptance to the unit, which is volunteer based, the former flight school cadets begin a six-month long training period. Throughout their training, the cadets undergo dozens of sorties in simulators and in the air, a parachuting course, a navigation week, five survival and evasion exercises, a camouflage exercise, a helicopter rendezvous exercise, hypobaric chamber training, aquatic survival training, ship boarding training and more. Only after completing the challenging course, the young loadmasters begin their two month-long Operational Training Course.

A combination of physical and mental challenges | Photo Courtesy of Lt. B'

“The reason I chose this job is the combination of physical and mental aspects that it holds. You need to deal with the physical challenges of opening the aircraft doors in-flight, or parachuting combatants, while thinking ahead and planning your next steps. You have to be very good at dividing you attention”, shared Lt. B’. “I remember the first time I opened the aircraft ramp, while flying at a very high altitude. Standing on the edge of the aircraft and looking down is an unforgettable experience”.