The traditional El Al Independence Day flyover drew special attention this year, after the airline's first female pilot was chosen to fly one of four planes across Israel.
Smadar Shechter, a 40-year-old mother of two daughters, was accompanied by her family before taking the helm of a Boeing 767. She dedicated the flight to her late father, who died before seeing her make history with El Al.
Proud mother, and pilot (Photo: Ofer Amram)
"There aren't enough women who got this opportunity, to be the captain," Shechter told Ynet. "Happily, I was fortunate enough to reach this stage; I made it through the course and was qualified in November."
Her husband and children offered great support, the female pilot said, adding that "without them I could not have undertaken this process."
The husband, Yair Eini, had only kind words for his wife.
"They say women can't drive? They can do everything just as well as us men. She gets support everywhere she goes, and she deserves it – she is a superb pilot and great person," he said.
The traditional flyover saw four El Al planes getting a new name on the occasion of Independence Day: A Boeing 747 honored the families of fallen soldiers and terror victims, a Boeing 777 was renamed "Gilad Shalit," a Boeing 767 was renamed "Ron Arad," and a Boeing 737 was dubbed "Captives and MIAs."
The planes took over together from Ben-Gurion Airport and flew north in formation, where they started their low-altitude flyover from Nahariya, through Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and all the way to Ashdod in the south.
In addition to El Al, the Air Force also initiated a flyover during the day featuring jets and helicopters flying over Israel's shoreline and above Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Navy sent a flotilla comprising missile boats and other vessels to sail by Israel's shores.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook