People often wonder what makes the Israel Air Force (IAF) so special, so innovative, so good at its tasks.
I went to search for the answer and much of it I found in the “Squadron,” in Hebrew Tayeset, a project that started in mid-2018. From a dream to reality it took six months to execute. Today, the Squadron can already claim success beyond all expectations, with 5,000 paying visitors, among them 120 corporations and companies’ teams, some from overseas as VIPs, who have attended the Squadron corporate training.
The Squadron venue, designed by Idmit Regev, is the dream come true of IAF F-16 pilot Colonel (Res.) Kobi Regev. It took four months to assemble the center which is the first in the world F-16 simulator. The Squadron, built in the shape of a cut jet engine, offering transparency through its glass walls and doors, meant to be open and tell the truth, is located close to Tel Aviv, meaning it offers easy access.
The F-16 of its several models, is a single-engine supersonic multi-role fighter aircraft, originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force and is much used by the IAF.
The IAF F-16 models are named Netz, meaning Hawk, Barak, meaning thunder, and Sufa, meaning storm, with the Sufa being the actor in the Squadron.
Colonel (Res.) Kobi Regev
Kobi, a two-time squadron commander, served in the IAF for 32 years, mostly as a 1-seater and 2-seater F-16 pilot. His last assignment was Israel’s Defense Attaché to Italy.
Two years ago, Kobi retired and has worked as a consultant to a defense company.
Just one year ago Kobi decided that the time had come to fulfill his dream of many years.
“People wanted to know that makes the Israel Air Force so special. I wanted to give them the answer, not only to tell but also through the experience.”
I asked Kobi, a handsome man with a very low-key demeanor, one hardly will associate as the operator of the majestically powerful F-16 fighting jet, what is the underline of the Squadron?
KR: “It is a center of excellence, a mean to transfer the IAF’s values and operational tools that could help make a person better, give him of her some leadership elementary tools, which can be applied to corporate management training.”
The Squadron is a very expensive dream come true. A great deal of the needed funds to build the center, carrying a very modern and innocuous atmosphere, came from IAF retired pilots who wanted to give back some of the so much that the IAF gave them during their service.
“One gets so much during one’s service, one simply wants to be able to share and even teach others, as much as possible of what one had received, through the see and game,” Kobi explains passionately but in a soft voice.
Other funds came from the Cinema City, where the center is located, corporate funds, such as Samson and Dell, to mention a few, and capital venture.
The Squadron is operated by retired IAF pilots, mostly men, and IAF flight simulators, mostly are women.
Though it is a fun place, the Squadron is no games arcade. It is a very serious center.
Although I did not take the full training the center offers, I wore a pilot suit and sat at one of the ten simulators in the room. I certainly experienced some of the notions of taking off in an F-16, and flying high and low over the land of Israel.
I envision that experiencing the full potential of the program is an unforgettable journey one should not miss on.
The Squadron’s Real Purpose and Program
During our tour of the center, Kobi kept on emphasizing that his main objective is to teach the youth the art of being accurate, as an F-16 pilot has to be, to be professional and be able to overcome a failure.
“To bring such Center to the attention of the world is to bring Israel to the attention of the world,” Kobi elaborates on the center’s all in all message. “It conveys Israel’s knowledge, technology, humanitarianism, moral and passion; it is an ambassadorial tool, an ambassadorial center that is introducing Israel’s know-how to the world.”
“We offer several programs, such as debriefing, team work, planning and execution, overcoming failure and leadership. You can be with us for half day and up to a full day and we offer programs for tourists too,” Kobi particularizes. “We will revive and teach historical flights, such as Operation Opera, the IAF mission to Iraq to bomb the Osirak nuclear reactor.”
“The simulator is the tool to transfer the message of Israel, while becoming better at what you do. It is a laboratory to work right and methodically, so you become better for yourself and for the company or the business for which you work,” Kobi ends up our short interview, while people are standing behind the glass walls and doors to interact with him or ask for his advice and assistance.
Though I would have stayed longer, it was time to leave the Squadron with thoughts of dignifying pride.
The IAF is Israel’s Hawk’s eyes. The Squadron explains to the public why it is so.
Optimism, patriotism, culture and deep roots in ancient land is one encompassing virtue the Jewish people are made of; the Squadron is one tool to help share this virtue, in the most sophisticated, but simple, way with the world. Kobi Regev and his Squadron dream, becoming reality, is one channel to dispense this virtue to the world.
Tickets to experience the Squadron run from $80.00 to $1,500, a very inexpensive price to pay for the elating experience and then leave this special center so very proud and highly motivated.