The Aviationtag Ambassador Program is an exclusive community of passionate aircraft enthusiasts and collectors who share their love for aviation. As an Aviationtag Ambassador, you receive special benefits such as exclusive discounts, early access to new products, and the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals.
One of our dedicated ambassadors is Gilad, a 38-year-old aviation enthusiast from Israel. Gilad has already had the incredible opportunity to meet several other Aviationtaggers, forging connections and exchanging Aviationtags in places like Poland, Austria, and the Netherlands. This is the true spirit that unites us all - a shared passion for aviation and the joy of connecting with fellow Aviationtag enthusiasts from around the world.
Gilad, how many Aviationtags do you own?
Well, I currently own around 200 Aviationtags.
How did it all start with collecting Aviationtags?
I was purchasing an airplane model from the Threshold Aviation store and I saw a "new" item called Aviationtag. I bought one tag, and then another, and another, and many more.
Do you collect any other airline memorabilia?
Yes, absolutely. I have around 50 airplane models in 1:200 scale, many safety cards and amenity kits. I also have a tag rack and a full-size service trolley. In the past, I collected pins and lanyards.
What is your favorite Aviationtag and why?
I have two favorite tags. One is the ELAL 747 tag, for which I helped translate the back card to Hebrew. ELAL is the flag carrier here in Israel. The second is TAP, as my nickname in many forums and groups is "Tp535", always seeking for number 535.
Is there a particular reason why you are interested in aviation/aircraft?
Well, my story with aviation started around 32 years ago when I was six years old. My late grandfather worked as a ticket inspector in a bus company here in Israel, and he took me every Friday to see aircraft departing from the old terminal in Ben Gurion airport. Since then, I've had jet fuel instead of blood. I breathe aviation and live the aviation life. I play flight simulator, used to do plane spotting, and work in the airport as overtime.
Around 20 years ago, my best friend died in an airplane crash here in Israel, which only made me love aviation even more in order to remember him.
What do you do for a living and in your spare time? Any relation to aviation/aircraft?
For the past 15 years, I have worked as a crime scene investigator in the Israeli police. As overtime, I work in the airport police at Ben Gurion airport. I love to fly in the flight simulator and have all the accessories to make it as real as it gets. I also get to travel in the airside when I work at the airport and breathe the jet fuel. My wife works at ELAL, so I often get to fly in the cockpit, which is the perfect time for me while in the air.
What is your favorite aircraft type and airline - and why?
My favorite airline is ELAL, of course, as it is the flag carrier here in Israel. My favorite aircraft would be the 747 Queen of the Skies. I had the opportunity to
fly in the last 747-400 commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Rome and back to Tel Aviv, and it was an amazing time to remember.
What does your dream Aviationtag look like? Which airline/aircraft?
My dream Aviationtag would be a never-published ELAL 747 tag or a tri-color TAP tag from any aircraft. I also love the bi-color Alitalia tags as I flew on the Airbus A321 from its release
Any particular event before/during/after a flight that is interesting or funny?
I'll share two interesting stories here, if you don't mind. The first one was in November 2019 when ELAL asked for aviation-related photos as part of a competition. The best aviation-related photo would win two free tickets and the opportunity to fly in the last ELAL 747 commercial flight. I sent a photo from my wife and me in our wedding set, and we won. It was an amazing weekend, and we received a lot of memorabilia items during that time.
Last month, I took a standby flight from Amsterdam to Warsaw. The flight was overbooked, and I had to choose between flying directly to Warsaw, my final destination for this leg, or flying to Krakow and taking an overnight train to Warsaw (there was one free seat on the flight to Krakow). I chose Warsaw according to the KLM agent at the check-in counter. He took my luggage, and I rushed to the gate. When I arrived at the gate, the flight supervisor said that I had no chance to get on the flight and that I should wait until boarding ends. My heartbeat was 200 at that time, and my anxiety level was high. After 10 minutes that felt like forever, the supervisor called me and gave me boarding, and not just regular boarding, but an upgrade to business class. I had two beers on that flight, and it took a few minutes for my heart to return to normal.
So it sounds as if you fly quite often?
Since my wife works in the aviation industry here in Israel for the past 15 years, I do fly a lot. My personal record was 12 flights in one year (not including domestic flights). After Covid, I fly less but still a lot. I often visit Eilat, which is a city in the north of Israel, only a 45-minute flight away, and I get to fly in the cockpit almost every time.
Thanks for sharing your stories with us, Gilad! Happy to have you on board.
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We can't wait to hear your unique aviation tales and welcome you into our exclusive community of Aviationtag enthusiasts. Feel free to drop your comments in the comment section below.