A Jewish Pilot in the Land of Milk and Honey — Part 6

I had already been serving with the JSP at Tel-Amal for almost a year when the War in Europe ended on May 8, 1945 and the Department of Civil Aviation ended the grounding of civil flying  in Palestine. I had connections with the Aero Club of Tel-Aviv and the Aero- Club of Haifa and in mid-June I was told that on July 7 a 14 day gliding course will be held at Kfar-Yeladim for Club members who wish to obtain the A gliding grade. I immediately applied to our Company Commanding Officer and asked him to be granted 14 days leave so as to attend this course. The CO knew about my Aero Club membership and my past gliding activities. He also knew that all these activities were under the Hagana aegis and organization and therefore he granted my request immediately.
On July 7 I took the bus which started from Beit-Shean and stopped at our Kibutz on its way to Haifa. I got off at Afulah and walked up to Kfar-Yeladim. I found a large group of Club Members who just finished assembling the Wrona which they took out of the cowshed. The Hamoreh hill had assigned positions all the way from the very bottom to the very top, both on the west side and the north side. There were A,B,and C positions and each had intermidary  positions such as 3/4 A; 1/2 A; 1/4A and 0A. The trainee started from 0A  and so did I when on the first day I received 4 starts doing just wing balancing and ploughing. When sunset came the Wrona was parked and tied down fast in the Yard.
We were billeted in the former school-rooms which had beds with mattresses and woolen blankets. There was an ample kitachen in this ex school-building and a couple of Hungarian Jews who succeeded in escaping from the holocaust and getting to Palestine were cooking our 3 meals every day. Since I was drafted by the JSP I was getting every month, during pay-parade 5 Palestine Pounds. 1 PP was equal to 1 Guinea (21 shillings or 5 US$). 1PP was deducted from my pay so as to pay the Kibutz for food and laundry and I was left with 4PP. At this Gliding course each one of us had to pay 2PP for the food during these 14 days. The food was good and tasty, a lot of gulash made of prime meat , not to mention paprika!
On the second day I got two starts. Both were just jumps but there was quite a strong wind during the second and it lifted me and gave me a 12 seconds glide.  On the third day I got 3 starts, the first two were jumps of 5 seconds and 11 seconds but the third one, with a strong wind of 4 meters per second gave me a glide of 16 seconds.On the fourth day I had only one start which was a glide of only 12 seconds.
On the 5th day the Wrona was taken up from 0A to 1/4A starting point and I was given 2 starts, one of 10 seconds and the second of 20 seconds. My 6th day started with a glide of 15 seconds and then the glider was taken up to 1/2A starting position from which I made a 21 seconds glide. The 7th day ended with one glide of 20 seconds and the second glide was 22 seconds long. I had only one start on the 8th day when I made a 23 seconds glide and 2 starts on the 9th day of 18 seconds and 28 seconds.On the 10th day I made 2 glides of 24 seconds and 21 seconds.
The A gliding grade required a straight  glide of 30 seconds  On the 11th day the Wrona was taken up to the 3/4A starting position from which I made a straight glide of 35 seconds and was awarded the A grade. The glider was then taken down to 1/2A  position from which I made a glide of 33 seconds. You may imagine how happy I was. I was now getting just a few more starts as a fully fledged glider-pilot. On the 12th day I made a 25 seconds glide. On the 13th day I made a 39 seconds glide and on the last day  I made a 30 seconds glide, all from the 1/2A starting position.
I returned to our base camp at Tel-Amal after two weeks of joy. Both I as well as my CO were proud of ourselves and the rest of the men were full of wonder and astonishment for I was not the tallest or strongest man in this platoon.
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