While most Israelis were sleeping last night, a select group of pilots took to the skies in an effort to make sure that the rain slated to wet Israel’s parched land stayed on our side of the border. These pilots flew in conditions that were classified as “unpleasant” and released chemicals into the growing cloud formations whose purpose it was to consolidate the micro-water-droplets into larger drops, which would cause them to fall faster before the clouds were able to cross Israel’s borders to the north and east. This process, which is known as cloud seeding, has been used by Israel, during drought years, since the 1950’s.
The pilots have been called “rain pilots” and their mission is often referred to as “rain flights”. The pilots fly into the clouds where they are thickest and thus, are completely blind and solely reliant upon their instrumentation to tell them where they are, where they must go, and what direction to take in order to get there.
The flights began last night (Tuesday night – Wednesday morning) just after 2 a.m. Yitzchak Shiloh, one of the rain pilots spoke about his flight. “We can’t see anything outside. We fly solely based on the information we receive from our instruments.” Shiloh flies a Skymaster dual engine plane that contains a payload of silver iodide that causes the droplets to cling together, gathering mass and falling faster, over the land and seas of Israel.
The permits for the mission come directly from the government and are issued in an effort to gather more rainwater than in previous years.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)