Above and Beyond is a 2014 documentary film about Mahal (Israel), produced by Nancy Spielberg, the youngest sister of Steven Spielberg, (known for Nazi Hunt: Elusive Justice (2011)), written by Sophie Sartain (known for Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh (2011)) and directed by Roberta Grossman (who also worked on Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh).
Above and Beyond documents the story of the American, foreign and Israeli pilots who flew warplanes to help defend the new state of Israel during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War against Arab Armies that sought to destroy the new country. The film was notable with the cinematography of Harris Done (The Last Days (1998)), special effects by Industrial Light and Magic and an original score from Hans Zimmer’s Studio.
In 1948, the new state of Israel is about to declare its independence after Palestine is partitioned. The surrounding Arab states are about to launch an invasion with overwhelming superiority in numbers and weaponry compared to the emergent Israeli defences. With no air force or aircraft, American and other foreign pilots are called upon to start a nascent military air force. The first aircraft are bought from the massive U.S. government surplus stocks and are former USAF Curtiss C-46 Commando transports, used in shipping war materiel back to Israel.
Facing restrictions that precluded help to belligerent nations, the first volunteers who choose to help have to find ways to work around U.S. government regulations. Al Schwimmer, a U.S. citizen, later charged with violating U.S. neutrality, takes charge of a transport operation. He registered the C-46 transports in Panama as Lineas Aereas de Panama aircraft and flew them to Israel via a circuitous route that includes Natal, Brazil, Casablanca, Morocco and Rome, which becomes the headquarters of the volunteer fighter pilots. Chief among the group is Canadian “Ace-of-aces” George Beurling (“Buzz” Beurling} who dies in a mysterious crash while testing a Noorduyn Norseman light transport.
With the assistance of officials in Czechoslovakia, a number of Avia S-199 fighter aircraft, a variant of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, were obtained. The fighter pilots who trained in Czechoslovakia include Lou Lenart, Leon Frankel, Harold Livingston, Milton Rubenfeld, George Lichter and Gideon Lichtman. Universally, the trainees hated the Avia S-199, called the “Messer-shitt” by Lichtman. After transporting the fighter aircraft to Israel, the first four aircraft are deployed to attack an Egyptian armored column moving on Tel Aviv. With the attack taking the enemy by surprise, the Egyptians retreat. Other air attacks help to bring about a truce between the combatants. During the truce, Israeli volunteers in the United States, manage to purchase and smuggle two Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers out of the country. When war is declared again, the B-17s are in the air, overflying the Middle East and divert to an attack on Cairo.
Source Page – Wikipedia