An Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighter pilot captured a photo of himself while flying upside down over Tel Aviv, a breathtaking selfie that’s now going viral in Israel and beyond.
The IAF posted the photo on its social media pages and as of this writing, the mind-blowing image has received more than 10,000 likes on Facebook.
The Air Force described the photo on Instagram writing, “T-6 Texan || pilot taking an amazing #selfie above Tel-Aviv.”
The image has elicited awed reactions ranging from “badass” to “insane” and criticism about why the pilot was capturing a selfie while at the controls of an aircraft. This in turn prompted the Israeli Air Force to post a clarification on Facebook.
“Shalom, we would like to clarify that in the aircraft’s cockpit there are two pilots, and the pilot who appears in the picture is not the pilot who flew the plane. There was no danger posed to either of the pilots during the flight,” the IAF wrote Sunday evening.
And on Monday, a spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces told TheBlaze, “The selfie was taken with a GoPro camera which was fastened on to the cockpit.”
Other comments on the IAF’s Facebook page included:
“Now that’s a selfie.”
“May God always be at your back.”
“Nesher [Eagle] 1, this is Nesher 2. Starting my attack run, over. But first……let me take a selfie.”
Visible opposite the pilot’s right arm patch is Rabin Square – the open space in central Tel Aviv which is the site of slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995.
An Israel Defense Forces spokesman told the Jerusalem Post that the pilot is named Major Ofer and that he was flying the “Efroni” trainer aircraft (Beechcraft T-6 Texan II) in a “traditional Air Force aerial demonstration.”
The Israeli Air Force as a rule does not provide identifying details for its pilots, withholding last names and usually blurring the faces of its pilots in photos.
But “this one was just too impressive to blur,” noted the Jerusalem Post.
Just last week, David Cenciotti wrote at the Aviationist about pilot selfies, noting that F-16 pilots capture the most stunning selfies.
“Thanks to the F-16′s bubble canopy, which lacks front frames, ‘Viper’ pilots can take the most stunning selfies among fighter jocks,” Cenciotti wrote. “The pilot sits on an elevated 30° inclined ejection seat (to improve G tolerance) that, combined with the bubble canopy, provide what is by far considered the best 360° visibility of any combat plane in the world.”