Marking Israel’s Independence Day, the Israeli Air Force released a 360-degree video of its annual flyover performance.
Viewers are treated to an immersive view from inside the cockpit of a plane in the IAF’s aerobatics team as it streaks through the skies over Israel’s beaches, coastal cities, the Sea of Galilee and Jerusalem.
The four red and white planes perform coordinated, precise maneuvers including inverted and low altitude flight and barrel rolls with mere meters separating the planes from each other.
The team, part of the IAF’s flight school, flies the American-made Beechcraft T-6 Texan II trainer aircraft for their aerial acrobatics. The team is composed of flight school instructors and has been active since 1960. It performs during Independence Day and at the closing ceremonies for the air force’s pilots course (Hebrew link).
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the country’s beaches and parks to mark 70 years of independence on Thursday. The cross-country flyover is a mainstay of the annual celebrations. This year’s flyover included military jets and helicopters, and for the second year included Israel’s fleet of F-35 jets, considered the most advanced plane in the world.
The preparations for the show went slightly awry earlier this week when an unannounced practice flyby over Tel Aviv by multiple fighter jets panicked residents of central Israel.
The Tel Aviv police hotline was inundated with a flood of phone calls from residents concerned by the sudden appearance of multiple fighter jets overhead. Locals also frantically took to social media in search of answers and posted videos of the aircraft.
The army and police quickly released calming messages, explaining that they were test flights ahead of the annual flyover.