The Israeli Air Force 1, that sparked controversy in the Israeli public, revealed for the first time at Ben Gurion three years after landing in Israel, as it has been taken out for the last two days to run engines.
The Boeing 767, was fully caught in front of the camera lens. The plane built in IAI Aircraft Division near Ben Gurion Airport, was colored nationally, blue and white – the upper part of the aircraft is painted blue. The lower part is white.
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The plan is decorated with a large Star of David on its tail and on its body written “State of Israel” in Hebrew and English with the national emblem appearing between them. A gray stripe separates the blue and white painted parts.
In the coming days, the aircraft is expected to conduct its first pilot flight. Because of the confidentiality of the project, today’s and yesterday’s engine run tests are being conducted early in the morning, so that as many of the nearby airport workers and establishments are exposed to it.
Since yesterday, the aircraft transmitted with ADS-B technology, enabling aviation enthusiasts to identify it with aircraft tracking software such as FlightRadar24. It should be noted that in real-time, the pilot can turn off his self-transmission to prevent such tracking. The fact that the aircraft is already painted and the transmission systems are working indicates that the construction of the aircraft is already at an advanced stage.
Last March, exclusive images of the plane were uncovered on Ynet, which drew countless speculations and estimates of its future design. The aircraft itself landed in Israel from Ohio in the United States on July 22, 2016, and has since disappeared from aviation repositories.
For many years he operated at the Australian airline “Qantas”, marking 19 years for his first flight. In Australia, the aircraft is considered to be one of the last 767 to serve in the company. The plan stoped service due to the company’s stock of new and economical fuel-efficient Airbus A-330 aircraft.
In January 2016, the aircraft was purchased by the American cargo company CAM, which planned to convert it into a cargo plane and even registered it with the US Aviation Authority, but last year the State of Israel purchased the aircraft from it.
Last February, it was announced that then-state comptroller, retired judge Joseph Shapiro, will review the decision-making processes for the purchase of the aircraft. Among other things, the auditor then announced that he would review the information collected prior to the decision to purchase the aircraft whose total cost is estimated at more than half a billion, including the entire decision-making process that led to the final decision.
The Cabinet approved a budget of NIS 729 million in August 2015 for the benefit of the aircraft: The acquisition and construction budget was to be NIS 393 million, and the operation and maintenance of the NIS 336 million for five years. The total was approved only a year after the treasury estimated the cost at NIS 175 million alone.
The Prime Minister’s version of the plane will have 116 seats, some of which are business class seats, instead of the original configuration which included 221 seats in the tourist class and 30 seats in the business class.