A Jewish Pilot in the Land of Milk and Honey — Part 7

I was released from the JSP on October 15,1945 and hurried straight to Jerusalem to get admitted to the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus. There were only 2 Faculties at that time: The Faculty of Science and the Faculty of humanities. I enlisted in the second and took as my main subject History of Europe. This required that I take History of Rome and that required that I take Latin. In addition to all that I took a course in International Relations, a course in Statistics and Demography and a course in French Culture.
During those years the Hebrew University did not have a Bachelor degree. You studied 4 years for a Master degree and for me this was extremely difficult. However, I went through the first year successfully and when summer came I was told at the Aero Club that this year there will be gliding courses lasting a full two months: August and September. And so I went to Kfar-Yeladim hoping to get my B grade in gliding.
The instructor was Itzhak Heneson who got back from his service in Eriterea. He was one of the first members of the Club, had a lot of gliding experience and a Commercial Pilot Licence. To get a B grade you flew the Wrona but started from a higher starting point on the hill. You had to do three glides of at least 60 seconds each and after each start you had to make a 90 degree left turn and then a 180 degree right turn and land within a triangular field marked by three white flags which lay between  Kibutz Merhavia and Moshav Merhavia.
I will not tire you with the details of my  first 14  jumps and short glides and say only that I performed my three glides perfectly, the first lasted 67 seconds, the second lasted 70 seconds and the third lasted 75 seconds.
Henenson was very satisfied with my gliding and told me that he would like me to go on and get the C grade but there was a problem: During the previous gliding course a glider pilot who had a B  grade and was aiming for the C grade which was a 5 minute glide from the high C starting point performed in an advanced glider which had a single-seat cockpit and an instrument-panel with 3 instruments: An airspeed-indicator, an altimeter and a variometer, started from the high C starting point and 2 minutes later went into a spin and crashed on  the ground below. The man was killed and the glider, which was called a “Chaika” (also made in Poland) was destroyed beyond repair.
This was the only Chaika which we had left. The C grade could also be performed with a high-performance sailplane called the Komar-Bis (also made in Poland) but glider pilots with a B grade who flew the Wrona were not allowed to proceed to the Komar which had superior gliding qualities and was much more expensive. Henenson then suggested that I go to the Aviron Co. Flying-School which was at that time at the RAF Ramleh Airfield and get 5 hours of airplane flying. (He was concerned mainly with my reaction to heights) and then come back to Kfar-Yeladim. He gave me a letter addressed to the flight-instructor at Aviron and wished me well. I left next day for Ramleh Airfield.
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