Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Israel Day 5 - Israel Air Force Museum - Transports

The Air Force Museum also features some transports used by the IAF.

The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser.

Think B-29 turned into a transport and you'd be right.

It was used for a variety of missions and served in the IAF in from 1964 to 1978. The Israelis added a rear-opening ramp and used it for air-dropping supplies as well as a heavy lift aircraft.

The Israelis called it the Anak or giant and referred to it as "the largest three engine plane in the world", due to the tendency of its engines to malfunction.

A DC-3:

A Beechcraft King Air:

A Nord 2501 Noratlas

The three Nords in the IAF were sold by the French as part of a package deal with the Ouragon jets and the French demanded Israel buy the Nords in order to get the jets. The Israelis ended up appreciated them and bought some more later on and used them for everything from dropping paratroopers to ferrying supplies and dropping bombs.

This brings us to our guide for the entire tour of Israel: Yaacov.


Well, it turns out he jumped from this very plane.

Yaacov, you see, is a certified bad-ass.

Born in France in 1941, he was one of the hidden Jewish Children. Only he, his brother, and mother survived the Holocaust, the rest of the family including his father, uncle, brothers and sisters were killed by the Nazis.

He immigrated to Israel after World War 2 ended, and then when he grew up joined the IDF and became a paratrooper.

He served in the 1967 Six-Day War; The 1973 Yom Kippur War; and the 1982 Lebanon War - side by side in that war with his son who was also a paratrooper.

Since his military service ended he's worked as a tour guide for 30 years and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the entire country and knows everyone by name. He also worked helping settle Ethiopian Jews in Israel when they arrived - we later met one of them and his family in the north of Israel when he remembered Yaacov from years ago and approached him to chat. Like I said, Yaacov knows everybody. It was always a fun moment, that happened multiple times during our trip, when other tour guides at sites would approach us when we were with Yaacov, chat with him, and then tell us we had the best tour guide around, after all, he had trained some of them!

78 years old and the man could walk us into the ground with ease, and he enjoyed every moment of teaching us and showing us Israel. I daresay he truly is the best tour guide in all of Israel.


Old NFO said...

Great story! And some quality old birds! The USAF called that a KC-97

MrGarabaldi said...

Hey Aaron;

Awesome Post...again and that King Air is or was a RC12D SIGINT plane that the U.S. Army used for voice intercepts.