Ferry pilots for Velvetta 2, drawn primarily from 101 Squadron and including Dangott, landed in Prague on December 9.
After a delay caused by winter storms, Velvetta 2 began as six Spitfires left Czechoslovakia at 10:00 on Dec. 18. Sam Pomerance (in Spitfire 2006 or 2007) took first to lead Caesar Dangott and Bill Pomerantz (2007 or 2006) while George Lichter led John McElroy and Moti Fein (later Moti Hod), an air cadet. In the low visibility conditions, Bill Pomerantz quickly lost the others. With the cloud cover still solid at 14,000 feet, after an hour and a half, Lichter decided to return to Kunovice with the others, but Pomerance, who along with Lichter had the only airborne radios, told Lichter he'd press ahead.
Pomerance died when he crashed into a mountain in Yugoslavia.
Pomerantz ditched in Yugoslavia and although his aircraft burned up, he suffered only minor injuries. John McElroy, a veteran of Spitfire ferry operations into Malta, in anger over the failure refused to follow a less experienced pilot a second time and was give a flight of three to lead the next day, when George Lichter led Shapira and Fein with John McElroy leading Caesar Dangott and Arnold Ruch along the assigned route. (You can find plane assignments in Cull et al 1994 but I question its accuracy on this point.). Clouds still blanketed the terrain. Despite a bout of disorientation on Shapira's part and a minor fuel leak in Fein's plane, all made the three-hour, forty-minute flight safely.
Jack Cohen led six Spitfires from Kunovice on Dec. 20.
Ground crew removed the Yugoslav markings from the Spitfires and painted on Israeli colors. Two Spitfires were judged unable to make the second leg and had to wait to reach Israel inside transports.
On Dec. 23, Lichter, Dangott, Fein, and Shapira left for Israel accompanied by a C-46. Lichter and Fein had traded aircraft, perhaps to allow the more experienced pilot to fly the Spitfire that had leaked. Fein recalled the flight:
The take-off, this time, was with the full load of fuel. It was the first time that I had taken off so heavy and we had to run, raise the tail wheel with both hands, reach the highest speed possible and unstick with full trim. Luckily the dry lake was very large, so that we were able to take off simultaneously. (Cull et al 1994)
Shapira also remembered that leg of the trip:
They told me what to do - believe me, we were frightened to death. During the flight RPM was low - 1,800 - to save fuel and every hour we adjusted the pitch and opened up the engine to clean the plugs. The airspeed was roughly 180 mph as this was the cruising speed of the C-46, at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Although I was well dressed, I suffered from the cold; we had no installation to pee and it was very difficult in the last hour and a half. We landed at Ekron after five hours and 20 minutes in the air. My aircraft had a cracked engine block. It was an achievement that we did not lose a single aircraft. (Cull et al 1994)
Jack Doyle left Chatzor in a Mustang to escort the the incoming, unarmed Spitfires.
Shapira nearly rammed Fein at Ekron. Fein, landing first, had his engine cut out as he landed and Shapira, coming in behind him, had to swerve violently to avoid a collision. Dangott landed at Chatzor after losing touch with the other three.