Israeli Air Force Light Aircraft


Vultee BT-13 Valiant

Developed as a private venture, the BT-13 was selected for US Army Air Corps use in September 1939. The type was the most numberous USAAF trainer of the Second World War, its production career lasting from 1940 to 1944.
During late 1947 and early 1948 agents of the "Haganah" movement scoured the world in search of aircraft for the "Shirut Avir" (air service), the IAF's predecessor. In early 1948 a pair of BT-13 were acquired in the US, out of five initially negotiated for. Of these only one departed the United States on April 10th 1948 on board Curtiss C-46 Commandos also destined for the "Shirut Avir". Although the plane apparently arrived in Israel on May 18 and sent to Ekron, by early July it had not yet been assembled . Once in service (by early September, possibly a month earlier) and designated B.62, the aircraft was used for basic pilot training with the 101st squadron at Hertzelia. When IAF aircraft were reserialled in late November 1948 B.62 received the number 91001 although it was no longer airworthy in January 1949. It was retired shortly later and handed over to the Israeli Aviation Club. It may have been joined by the second as-yet-unassembled example initially acquired in the US.

Specification: Vultee BT-13A Valiant
Type: two-seat basic trainer.
Powerplant: one Pratt & Whitney R-984-AN-1.
Performance: max speed - 284 km/h, range - 1,166km.
Weights: empty - 1,822kg, max takeoff - 2,438kg.
Dimensions: span - 12.80m, length - 8.79m, height - 3.50m.
Armament: none.


Nord 1203/II Norecrin II

After the French liberation of 1944 Nord continued its production of the Bf-108 light monoplane as the Nord 1000 and 1100. Using the same basic configuration, the company then developed the Nord 1200 with a fixed landing gear and later the 1203 with a retractable gear.
In 1948 two Nord Norecrins IIs were donated to the IAF by a French family for medical evacuation duties. Arriving in Israel in June 1948, the two aircraft, B.45 and B.46, were employed as liaison and training aircraft for a short time before being retired. In January 1951 the two Norecrins were handed over to the Israeli Aviation Club. Their civil registration were 4X-ADY and 4X-ADT.

Specification: Nord 1203/II Norecrin II
Type: four seat touring light plane.
Powerplant: one Regnier 4L00.
Performance: max speed - 137mph, range - 559 miles.
Weights: empty - 650kg, max takeoff - 1,050kg.
Dimensions: span - 10.22m, length - 7.21m, height - 2.90m.
Armament: none.


Aerospatiale SOCATA Rallye 893

The Rallye series begun life with the Morane Saulnier M.S.880, an all-metal low-wing monoplane with retractable landing gear. First flown on June 10th 1959, it was then produced in a number of variants. The M.S. 893 variant was intended as an agricultural aircraft, but was developed as a tourer instead.
In the mid 1960s a single M.S.893 was awarded by Aerospatiale to the IAF commander-in-chief, Ezer Weizmann, for his part in the conclusion of the Mirage IIIC deal between Israel and France. The plane arrived in Israel sometime between April 1966 and June 1967 and served as a light liaison aircraft with the 129th light transport squadron. It was later sold off to a civilian operator.

Specification: Aerospatiale SOCATA Rallye 893
Type: four seat touring light plane.
Powerplant: one Lycoming O-360-A2A.
Performance: max speed - 240km/h, service ceiling - 2,400m, range - 1,050km.
Weights: empty - 570kg, max takeoff - 1,050kg.
Dimensions: span - 9.61m, length - 7.24m, height - 2.80m.
Armament: none.


Piaggio P-149D

During the early 1950s the Italian company Piaggio designed and built the P-148, an all-metal two seat training aircraft for the Italian Air Force. The sound design of this aircraft formed the basis for the five seat P-149 with a huge sliding hood and a retractable tricycle undercarriage. The first prototype took to the air on June 19th 1953 but the type did not attract any interest until the German Luftwaffe asked Piaggio to design a two seat version of the P-149. The new version, the P-149D, served with various air forces around the world, including those of Germany and Nigeria.
During the 1960s Israel provided aid to the new states emerging in post-colonial Africa. The IAF assisted these states in building their air forces by establishing flight and technical training schools and in operating African aircraft as ground support forces. One of these African states was Uganda, which operated a fleet of P-149Ds. When co-operation between Israel and Uganda ceased in 1968, four P-149Ds were transfered to Israel where they served as light utility and liaison aircraft. Operated by the 100th "Flying Camel" light squadron, the aircraft wore IAF markings but kept their original Ugandan livery. One of the aircraft crashed prior to the type's retirement in 1971. All remaining aircraft were sold overseas.

Specification: Piaggio P-149D
Type: two seat training monoplane.
Powerplant: one Lycoming GO-480-B1A6.
Performance: cruising speed - 266km/h, max speed - 304km/h, range - 1090km.
Weights: n/a.
Dimensions: length - 8.80m, span - 11.12m, height - 2.90m.
Armament: none.


Aerospatiale SOCATA TB-20 Trinidad (Pashosh)

SOCATA Trinidad (Pashosh) The SOCATA TB series originated in 1975 as a supplement to the Rallye series, beginning with the TB.10 that first flew in February 1977. The third member of the family, succeeding the Tampico and the Tobago, is the TB.20 Trinidad, first flown in November 1980. Besides packing more power than earlier members of the series, the Trinidad also has a retractable tricycle landing gear.
22 TB.20 Trinidads were purchased by the IAF in the mid 1990s to supplement and replace the aging Cessna U-206s. The type entered service with the IAF on February 1st 1995 and is operated by the 129th light transport squadron. Its nickname, "Pashosh", means Warbler.

Specification: Aerospatiale SOCATA TB-20 Trinidad
Type: four/five seat touring lightplane.
Powerplant: one Avco Lycoming IO-540-C4D5D.
Performance: max speed - 300km/h, range - 1,760km.
Weights: empty - 800kg, max takeoff - 1335kg.
Dimensions: span - 9.76m, length - 7.71m, height - 2.85m.
Armament: none.


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