IAF renews F16I training after grounded due to crash

Fighter jets hit the skies again after brief halt in activity following tragic incident that killed two IAF servicemen at Ramon Crater.

November 15, 2010 02:09
1 minute read.

f16. (photo credit: Tsahal)

The Israel Air Force renewed training with the F- 16I fighter jet on Sunday after all planes were grounded last week following a crash in which two airmen were killed.

On Sunday, navigator Maj. Emanuel Levi, 30, was buried at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem. Pilot Maj. Amihai Itkis, 28, was laid to rest on Friday.

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IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan decided on Sunday morning to renew flights of the F-16I Sufa aircraft after it appeared that the cause of the crash was human error and not a mechanical malfunction.

The IAF has yet to complete its investigation and is waiting to receive the contents of the black box that was found at the crash site in the Ramon Crater in the South.

The box was sent to the plane’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin in the United States, since it was slightly damaged during the crash and officials said that the manufacturer had a greater chance of retrieving the data than IAF technicians.

The plane was leading a formation of four aircraft that were simulating dogfights with enemy aircraft.

Itkis and Levi’s plane was at 11,000 feet when it began to descend, in line with the scenario they were drilling, when it crashed suddenly.

The IAF probe is focused on the possibility that the pilot unintentionally flew the aircraft into the ground, in what is termed Controlled Flight into Terrain, one of the leading causes of airplane accidents. In most cases, the pilots do not realize they are heading into the ground, a mountain or the water before it is already too late.

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