IAF F-16 fighter jet.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
The Israel Air Force cancelled all training flights on Thursday following a string of safety incidents in recent days.
IAF chief Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel cancelled the training after learning of the incidents, which included a near miss involving two fighter jets.
The offending pilot was sentenced to five days in military prison. Eshel ordered air crews to spend the day going over safety procedures.
Operational flights continued as normal.
Cancelling training flights is a routine response by air force commanders who feel that safety incidents require a reemphasis on safety.
In March last year, Eshel held a flight safety day after an F-16 fighter jet pilot experienced vertigo during a training flight over the Mediterranean Sea.
The navigator took over the controls and safely landed the jet at its base. The incident was one of a number of safety-related events that took place in the air force at the time, prompting Eshel to set aside a day for going over procedures and cancelling regular training.
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In 2012, the IAF grounded its transport helicopter fleet after one of the aircraft was forced to carry out an emergency landing near the Tel Nof Air Force Base near Rehovot.
Eshel's term as IAF chief was extended for a year last week by new IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Gadi Eisenkot. Eshel began his term as IAF chief in May of 2010.
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