IAF returns helicopters to service after crash probe

Break in tail rotor, not human error or aircraft's age, caused Cobra helicopter accident, IAF investigation finds.

April 19, 2013 10:37
1 minute read.
Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel assumes command of IAF

Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel assumedscommand of IAF 370. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson's Office)

The Israel Air Force announced the return of its fleet of Cobra combat helicopters to service on Friday following the completion of an investigation into what caused a deadly March crash.

Reserve pilots Lt.-Col. (res.) Noam Ron, 49, and Maj.

(res.) Erez Flekser, 31, were killed when their aircraft crashed near Gedera, leading IAF chief Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel to ground the choppers.

Air force investigators said a break in the tail rotor of the aircraft caused the accident.

The investigation was led by an IAF colonel who may be identified only as “N.”

The pilots had radioed the Palmahim air base before the crash, saying they would land there in six minutes, on schedule.

There was no distress call prior to the accident.

The investigation ruled out pilot error or the aircraft’s age as causes.

“Due to the operational importance of the Cobras, the IAF formulated a plan for their return, which includes technical checks for all helicopters and a change in the maintenance plan,” the IDF Spokesman’s Office said Friday.

Eshel accepted the investigative committee’s findings as well as suggested steps to prevent risks of similar future occurrences.

The families of the deceased air crew received updates on the findings, the IDF added.

“We will continue to accompany the bereaved families,” it said.

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