update deskIsrael at War

A thousand hours over Gaza

IAF pilot, 56, holds record for flight time in current war

“At my age, before the war, you were supposed to stop flying," he told Ynet.

Lt. Col. "Shin" with his family. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Office.
Lt. Col. "Shin" with his family. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Office.

Air Force Lt. Col. “Shin,” (for security reasons only the first letter of his last name is provided), has broken 1,000 flight hours over the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7. This gives him the record for flight hours during the war, according to Air Force data.

“I didn’t keep track of my flight hours, I was told this when I landed after the sortie in which I exceeded 1,000 hours in the war. For me, it’s just a number and it’s hard to compare with other shorter wars,” he said.

“At my age, before the war, you were supposed to stop flying,” he told Ynet. Shin is 56.

“As far as I’m concerned, age 60 is the next limit. I undergo periodic medical examinations like all pilots, and as long as I’m healthy and do my job properly I don’t see why age is a problem,” he said.

Shin was on vacation in Thailand with his wife and two children when news of the Hamas attack started to reach him. He immediately boarded a plane to Israel. “It was not easy to leave the children and partner abroad,” he said.

The biggest driver that keeps him going is the soldiers and hostages.

“I feel that I should be in the air because we have soldiers below who need us and hostages who have not yet returned. There are restrictions on pilots, but at the height of maneuvering and for the benefit of the fighters on the ground they’ve already stopped arguing with me. I explained that I know my body well enough to know that I am fit to fly again. The issue of the hostages doesn’t leave me.”

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