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Day 2 began with an unhappy view of cloudy sky above the sea from our hotel room, but as the clouds dissappeared on our way south to Sde Dov, a partly regional and military airfield in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, our mood became also better. A ramp tour of the civil part of the airfield was foreseen which was very interesting as the airlines and the aircraft flying there are only very rarely spotted at other places, let alone the chance of seeing them over here in Europe. We were warmly welcomed by the airport manager who explained the history and the current status of Sde Dov. Build in 1938 the airfield served as the homebases for Tiger Moths that were used for powerline recconaissance flights. In the course of the time it became a combined military and civil airfield. Furthermore what has been the runway at the beginning became a taxiway with the construction of the main 1748m long runway that runs parallel to the coastline. The airport currently handels 35.000 civil movements/year and 700.000 passengeres, the main part using the Arkia domestic connections with their ATR 42/72 and Dash-7 aircraft. Still wearing civil markings three Dash-7 were also spotted at the airfield that wore experimental titles and currently undergo some kind of conversion. Some sources speak of 'fishing surveillance', the true reason however remains unknown. The military aircraft flying to SDV are mainly Beech 200s, RC-12s and two C-130 flights per day. Unfortunately at that day the civil part of the airport was closed, so no active Arkia or Israir aircraft could be photographed. I would have really liked that, as the runway is parallel to the coastline which offers a beautiful background. To watch the military side was also of interest as the preparations for the static display on Independence Day the next day were going on, but we hoped that good photos of that would officially be possbile during our visit the next day.
Sde Dov Airport (SDV)
Preparations for the Open Doors Day
We then left to Tel Nof, passing the Hatzor airbase where we saw 4 F-16s flying over us while we drove by. At Tel Nof we were allowed to see a preview of the static display for the part of the celebrations held at that airbase. And it was an amzing view! Nearly every aircraft of the IDF was present in the line-up, also the most modern jet types, the F-15I and F-16I. For the static display one of the three main runways of the airfield was used and it was quite an experience to be allowed to take photos of nearly every type of modern aircraft of the IAF. Besides the aircraft there were also fire engines present, and the technical services also showed off their daily activities at the airfield. The 90 minutes on base were over quite - or shall I better write 'too' - fast. One final shot of the F-15 gateguard and the day there was over. Exhausted, but excellent!!! Already the trip was well worth it.
Tel Nof Airbase - F-15C & F-15I
F-16A, F-16D, F-16I
Jet Ranger, UH-60, AH-1, AH-64, CH-53
A-4N, F-4E, C-130E, RC-12, Tzukit
UAV, some detail shots
The evening was spent in a nice restaurant and I did not once again have the time to go swimming in the Mediteranean Sea as the celebrations on the eve of the Independence Day were going on right opposite our hotel: on the main city square a lot of people gathered and there was live music, food and also something to drink. In pursuit of an old tradition, which is nowadays only allowed in that city, children were running around with cans and spraying foam onto each oter. At around 10pm the firework display started which also put an adequate end to a very successfull day.
Category: Air Forces
Published: 18 October 2007