Pinchas Ben-Porat

Born ?

Combat Record

No victories


Pinchas Ben-Porat learned to fly at Aviron, the Jewish Agency's pre-World War II flight school. With only 150 hours flight time, he became commander of the Palmach's Flying Platoon in January 1944. The Palmach sent him to England for a year of advanced training and he returned in 1947 with a commercial flying licence, whereupon he immediately joined the Sherut Avir.

Modi Alon, Ezer Weizman, and Ben-Porat numbered among the Tel Aviv Squdron's original pilots. On Dec. 17, 1947 - in the squadron's first week of existence - Ben-Porat was tasked with supporting the Negev settlement of Nevatim, which was under attack by Arab irregulars. He took probably a RWD 13 or an Auster and made it to Nevatim without incident. Once there, he removed his right-hand door and took on a gunner with a Bren gun as well as several hand grenades. Ben-Porat and his gunner spent a half-hour performing close air support, after which he returned the Bren and its gunner to Nevatim and flew home. His actions would be emulated as a matter of practice by many Jewish pilots and crew in the coming months.

Ben-Porat was chosen as one of the original ten pilots who left Israel on May 9 to attend S-199 training in Czechoslovakia. He broke his arm crash-landing an S-199 and was sent to fly transports during the first truce and, later, to B-17s.

After the War of Independence, he became the first Israeli to teach in the IAF Flying School and helped manage the program. After a tour as CO of 69 Squadron (flying B-17s), he left the military in 1950 to join El Al. He was the co-pilot on the El Al Constellation mistakenly shot down by the Bulgarian Air Force, July 27, 1955, killing all aboard.



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