IAF blames private, chartered aircraft for near-misses

High-ranking officer tells 'Post' that those aircraft sometimes fly recklessly and are main source of aerial dangers in Israel.

private aircraft 88 (photo credit: )
private aircraft 88
(photo credit: )
Noting a recent increase in near-miss aviation collisions, a high-ranking Israel Air Force (IAF) officer has told The Jerusalem Post that private and chartered aircraft sometimes fly recklessly and are the main source of aerial dangers in Israel. According to the officer, while Israeli airspace is "tight and narrow," it is not more dangerous than other countries in the world "or the crowded airspace over JFK airport in New York." In the past two years, the officer said, the number of aircraft flying in Israeli airspace has doubled due to an increase in commercial and private flying time. Last week, an Arkia plane carrying soldiers and their families came dangerously close to crashing into an F-16 fighter jet at the Uvda airfield in the South. Two weeks ago, a private plane nearly collided with an Arkia plane at the Sde Dov airfield in Tel Aviv. The officer, who is involved in coordinating between military and civilian use of the airspace, said that minimal space in altitude between aircraft is 400 feet. "We also restrict the number of aircraft allowed in the air at the same time," he said. Due to the difficulty in controlling the airspace, some airfields have installed new monitoring systems to try to prevent air collisions. One such example is at Sde Dov, where base commander Col. Eden Atias recently installed an advanced military-grade radar system in the tower that creates a clearer aerial picture and assists in preventing air collisions. 'Statistically, an airplane is still the safest means of transportation," the officer said.