Carcinogenic material found in IAF F-16

Air force chief Shkedy grounds training flights on model following investigation into bad odors.

iaf F16 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
iaf F16 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Elazar Shkedy decided Friday to ground all F-16I training flights after carcinogenic material was found in the cockpit of one of the aircraft. Israel has contacted the manufacturer - Lockheed Martin - and tests were being done to determine the nature of the material and the risk involved. Shkedy made the decision to suspend training flights - the plane will continue to be used in necessary operations - after a number of pilots complained of a bad smell coming from the cockpit of one of the planes. The IDF Medical Branch conducted tests and discovered that the smell was caused by a type of formaldehyde known to be carcinogenic in high concentration. Although traces of the material were found in only one plane, Shkedy decided to stop training flights until the conclusion of the investigation. The F-16I - called Sufa (Storm) in Israel - is one of the most advanced and sophisticated combat fighter jets in the world alongside the F-15I. The plane was purchased by Israel in 2000 when former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz was head of the IAF. In total, Israel purchased 102 planes from Lockheed Martin and is supposed to receive the last batch by the end of 2008.