Expert says pilot's fatal decision to jettison plane was the right thing to do

The IAF F-16I which crash landed yesterday was not balanced when coming into land after conducting an airstrike on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip.

October 6, 2016 16:19
1 minute read.
Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov and the site of the explosion

Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov and the site of the explosion. (photo credit: COURTESY THE FAMILY)


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The Israeli Air Force published on Thursday morning its initial findings regarding the F-16I crash landing on Wednesday, which resulted in the death of Deputy Squadron Commander Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov. 

Maj. Nov and his navigator, who survived the incident, were attempting to land after conducting an airstrike on the Gaza Strip.

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Aharon Lapidot, a flight expert who served in the IAF, spoke to Israeli Radio station 103 FM Thursday morning regarding the findings. "The landing would have been difficult and complex, as the aircraft was not balanced," he said, before adding that he was sure Maj. Nov appreciated this as it appears that he had pulled out of a first landing before attempting a second, fatal landing at the Ramon airbase in southern Israel. The F-16I caught fire before exploding, killing Maj. Nov.

"The weight on one side was greater than the other side due to a bomb remaining on one of the wings. The lack of balance makes it very hard to land. The plane needs to land with both wings parallel to the ground... the plane will naturally lean to the heavier wing," Lapidot said.

Lapidot added that if Maj. Nov felt that it was impossible to save the aircraft, then deciding to eject was the correct decision. "In that case, first the navigator ejects and then the pilot. There is a difference of a second between them, but it appears this was the fateful second."

The navigator managed to successfully eject from the aircraft, sustaining minor injuries, while it appears that Maj. Nov was killed during his ejection, however the specifics of how the incident unfolded remain unclear.

Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov, 34, left behind a daughter and a pregnant wife. The funeral is set to take place on Friday at 11 a.m. at the cemetery in Moshav Mazur near Rishon Lezion

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