To finish off Monday, we ended up having dinner and then having a guest speaker from Tel Aviv, show us around the city. We went on a walk next to the beach and made a few stops on the way to Jaffa. He showed us where a suicide bombing took place at a Russian club. He then showed us the tallest mosque in the area, which also serves as the border of Tel Aviv and Jaffa. They are considered one city. WE were able to go in the gates of the mosque but not inside the building because it was prayer time. We then walked to the heart of Jaffa and stopped a at a chocolate shop. We all tried different chocolate deserts which were all DELICOUS! Our next stop was at a famous bakery. WE all tried some fresh baked pita that was very tasty. Finally we visited an ice cream shop and had famous ice cream, which again was amazing. After a couple hours of touring the city, we went back to the hotel and were done for the night.
We woke up early Tuesday morning, like usual, and went to the Weizmann Institute to tour. We learned that it was originally founded in honor of a young man who died at an early age before he was able to become a scientist. It was named after him, but the name changed several years after in honor of Weizmann, president and scientist at the Institute. The basic idea behind this school is one-on-one teaching with focus on basic research. Research is done with no more than 5 students and one professor. They believe that basic research leads to great discoveries and maintains knowledge of the fundamentals. This is the future of science. While we were there we visited Dr. Weizmann's original lab as he left it. It had very old versions of a lot of the equipment we still use today. Our final stop was to their solar energy lab. It is in a 12-story building where researchers use are able to focus light to research the potential of sunlight. They had over 20 large solar panels all focused in the same spot to reflect the sunlight to the same area. The professor who taught us abouttheir research earned is PhD at the University of Minnesota. Afterwards we got on the bus and drove to the Israeli Air Force Base, Palmachim.
As an officer in training for the US Air Force, I can say that they do things very different. Since service is mandatory for all Israelis, most soldiers were very young. Unlike the US, you don't need to be an officer to be a pilot. Everyone starts out enlisted, sand some become officers some become NCOs if they stay in long enough. We learned abou their different UAVs and their capabilities. The smallest has a wingspan approximately the size of a Cessna-172 the largest has a wingspan of 14 meters. It takes 3 pilots to fly these planes. Two internal pilots sit in a trailer and tell the UAV what to do through a computer. The third is the external pilot and visually does takeoffs and landings outside with a remote. Training for external pilots consists of 5 months of flying a model plane. Next is 2-3 months on a small UAV. Then finally they train on their UAV. They have three currently in use...at least that's what they admit to. We saw one of them from the 200th UAV squadron. It was really interesting to see how they did things. I'm not sure which way is better to do things but they are much more casual on base than the US. There weren't any "customs and courtesies" such as saluting while at Palmachim and everyone was a lot more relaxed. Not everything is different though. We both share the love for the movie "Top Gun". I was amused by the fact that our security on base were two 18 year old girls, unarmed, with a combined 6 months of active duty experience. We weren't allowed to take any pictures on base, only of the welcome sign.
After the visit, we returned to the hotel. Many students went to enjoy the beach, which was conveniently located 2 blocks away. Others slept. Later we all went out to dinner with about 10 UAV pilots. They explained even more how life worked for them in the Air Force. We also explained our side of things. It was a lot of fun and the food was great. The restaurant we went to is where the Israeli basketball team celebrates after a win, which is often. There were pictures of them on the walls as well as other celebrities who have visited including George W. Bush. We got along so well with the pilots, many of us ended up going out afterwards with them to the bar. Needless to say when we all finally got home, we fell asleep very quickly.