On Wednesday (8 November) we were up early because we had to report at 09:00 at the main gate of Ovda Air Base where the exercise “Blue Flag 2017” was in full swing. Because it was an official press day, participants were asked for a press accreditation, which was checked on arrival. After checking, each participant received a visitor’s pass and we were taken to a conference room by a bus. A brunch-like buffet was provided here and the program of the day was explained in more detail.
The day started with three press conferences. The first presentation was held by a member of the staff of the Israeli Air Force in which the objective and the interests of the exercise were explained in more detail. The second presentation was held by an air traffic control officer, explaining the effects of the exercise on the airspace above the southern half of Israel. The third presentation involved an explanation of the logistics and maintenance technical organization behind the exercise. After the presentations a Patriot installation was briefly visited and afterwards the entire group was taken to the runway where it was possible to photograph the participating aircraft during the take-off.
After this the entire group was brought to the main gate by bus and the visit was ended. Because the presentation showed that only one mission was flown this day, we opted to visit the civil terminal so that we could assess the possibilities for the coming day. The civilian terminal was closed for regular flights during the exercise, but it was open for military charters. The adjacent parking lot gave a nice view of both runways. After all, we had to go to Ovda the next day or go to Hatzerim to visit the museum. After we had visited the location it was a unanimous decision to return to Ovda the next day, but that the light was only good after 13:00.