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Air Force (Israel)

Heyl Ha'avir

Last modified: 2011-07-08 by andrew weeks
Keywords: air force | heyl ha'avir | star: 6 points (blue) | disc (white) | circle (blue) | stripes: 3 (blue-white) |
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[Air Force (Israel)] 2:3
image by }eljko Heimer

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Light blue flag with thin stripes, near top and bottom (closer to the edges than on the national flag), white with dark blue borders. In the center, the air force roundel but with points touching disc edges and a dark blue border.
Nathan Lamm, 10 February 2002

Source for my image: Album des Pavillons 1998, which shows a 1:2 ratio. The Air Force flag was dropped in Album des Pavillons 2000 since it falls out of the scope of the book (it is not an ensign which may be spotted at sea).
}eljko Heimer, 11 February 2002

The Air Force flag should have a ratio 2:3.
Dov Gutterman, 11 February 2002

Heyl Ha'Avir (= The Air Force) was formed on 17 May 1948 and use the same roundel since then. It never had tail insignia and all tail insignia in photos are squadrom markings.
I don't think that there are other countries that had air force before their independence, but IAF history start years before independence and it is the successor of Sherut ha'Avir (Air Service) of the "Ha'Hagana" (The defense) underground.
Sherut Ha'Avir converted light aircraft to "bombars" and used them in military use. Those planes flew under the civil registration. Once "Ha'Hagana" bought disqualified air frames and built planes out of them. Since it wasn't possible to register them, the gave them same civil registration as "legitimate" planes. In this way 3-4 planes flew with the same registration, and, of course, they were put in separate in different air fields.
By the way, the Israeli first Spitfire was built from pieces from 6 palnes and nicknamed "the junk Spit"
Some will maybe remember a scene from a film of the 60' with Kirk Douglas (Cast a giant shaddow) in which Frank Sinatrais playing an IAF pilot bombing the Egyptian with empty soda bottles from his Piper Cub......
Well, it wasn't wasn't a Piper Cub (but an Auster)....and it happened due to lake of real bombs (those soda bottles made an hell of a noise falling down....)
The First IAF real combat plane was an Avia S.199 which was really a Czech modification of the German bf-109G which arrived in parts before the Independence, which was very hard to fly (it was called by the Czecks "Mezek" (mule))and was out of service right after the independence war.
Day after the delaration of independence (and day before the forming of the IAF), one of the Avia's shot down 2 Egyptian planes over Tel-Aviv. A bit of irony that 3 yars after the end of WWII, a german plane is helping Israel to defend against British and American planes used by Arab countries....
IAF site (in English) at <>. IAF museum site with many photos of `planes at - <>
Dov Gutterman, 17 June 2004

GHQ Air Branch Flag

The flag is light blue, with the Israeli national flag in canton, with the difference that two stripes and Magen David that are dark blue (or just blue?) on the national flag, are here of the same light blue as the field.
}eljko Heimer, 27 March 1996

Air Force Roundel

[Air Force Roundel, Magen David touching edges (Israel)]
image by }eljko Heimer

Cochrane and Elliot 1998 shows the star within, but not reaching the edges of, the white disk. Album des Pavillons 2000 and Album des Pavillons 2001 show a white roundel with blue six-pointed star within a blue border, like it appears on the Air Force flag. However, I think that it is not correct: Album des Pavillons 1995 shows it without blue border.
}eljko Heimer, 11 February 2002

The Air Force roundel has no blue border and the Magen David does not reach the edges of the disk.
Dov Gutterman, 11 February 2002

Looking at recent photos of Israeli air force planes, I checked that half of them have a blue ring round the white disk, the other half have only white disk; moreover, it does not depend of the colour of background!
Armand Noel du Payrat, 12 February 2002

Maybe in old planes. Check this Israeli air force webpage and you will see that all current planes use the no-border roundel except those with white body using thin line around the roundel (see this example). As a rule, the roundel has no border.
Dov Gutterman, 12 February 2002

I am currently browsing through some Israel military magazines (Born in Battle), and almost all the roundels show the star within, but not reaching the edges of, the white disk (the distance of the star from the edges of the disk varying somewhat, though). This includes early planes from the 1948/49 war of independence (like Spitfire, B-17 Flying Fortress, Czech-built Bf-109), and more modern planes from the 1970ies and 1980ies (Mirage IIIC, A-4 Skyhawk, F-4 Phantom II, Kfir, F-16
Fighting Falcon, F-15 Eagle).
The only aircraft showing a roundel with a thin blue ring around are Mosquitos and Meteors from the 1950ies, both of them having a white or metallic colour finish [1] [2]. There is a distinct space between the
ring and the star, though.
[1] Born in Battle 1. Eshel-Dramit (Hod Hasharon), 1978. p. 32-33.
[2] Im Kampf geboren 5: Die israelische Luftwaffe im Kampf. Eshel-Dramit (Hod Hasharon), 1979. p.27.
Marcus Schmöger, 25 November 2006

Mistaken variants

In Album des Pavillons 1995 In Album des Pavillons 2000
[Air Force Roundel, mistaken variant with Magen David touching edges (Israel)]      [Air Force Roundel, mistaken variant with blue border (Israel)]     

both images by }eljko Heimer