(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
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.
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
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
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
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.