Eight Air Force F-16s participated in “Operation Opera” in 1981, including aircraft number 129, which was part of Squadron 117, whose stick is now up for sale. The person who flew the plane was Colonel Hagai Katz. The owner of the rare item is a senior squadron member who wishes to remain anonymous. He said the stick came “through squadron personnel, and I prefer not to expand because it’s a sensitive issue.”
It is not clear how the steering rod reached the squadron members. It is customary for retired pilots to receive a “souvenir” like a helmet with a dedication, but not a fighter jet stick, certainly not one with a glorious history. The amazing thing is that the stick buttons are pushy and usable. Under it is engraved the date 6-6-81, the day before the attack. Next to it is engraved another date, slightly erased – apparently it is December 1981. It is estimated that at that time the assault stick was taken out of use and replaced with a new one.
The fate of the plane itself, by the way, is not much different: it was sold earlier this year, along with three other fighter jets, to a North American company that provides training services to the U.S. Air Force.
“About six months ago, someone in Europe sold part of a plane that crashed in the 1950s with the emblem of an Israeli squadron for about $ 60,000,” says the owner of the steering wheel. Of course, this item has tremendous added value. ”
Eyal Ilya from Pentagon Auctions, which is entrusted with the sale together with the garage sale collection, intends to put the stick up for sale this weekend. “It’s a very rare item,” he explains, “the starting price is $ 50,000, but it’s obviously worth a lot more. We were already offered NIS 100,000 and we refused. Israel”.