Dune-crash pi­lots killed

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - by yaakov katz, Jerusalem

IN THE sec­ond plane crash in as many months, two Is­raeli Air Force pi­lots died on Wed­nes­day when their jet crashed into the Negev Desert.

The two pi­lots were fly­ing in a French-made Fouga Mag­is­ter, known in the IAF as “Zukit” — the IAF’s pri­mary train­ing plane. One of the dead, 19year-old Ilan Carmi, had been on the pres­ti­gious Pi­lot’s Course for the past 18 months. The other pi­lot was iden­ti­fied as Cpt Matan Assa, 24, who was serv­ing as a flight in­struc­tor.

The plane crashed 30 min­utes af­ter tak­ing off from the Hatzerim Base near Beer­sheba. It was fly­ing at 400 feet when it hit a sand dune. The IAF im­me­di­ately grounded all Zuk­its and set up an in­quiry.

Ini­tial re­ports sug­gest hu­man er­ror was to blame.

The Fougas en­tered IAF ser­vice in 1960 and are set to be re­placed next year with the ar­rival of new US-made T-6 Texan air­craft.

In Septem­ber, a Co­bra at­tack he­li­copter crashed dur­ing a train­ing flight in north­ern Is­rael killing two vet­eran re­serve pi­lots. The cause of that crash has yet to be de­ter­mined and the IAF’s co­bra squadrons have re­mained grounded since the in­ci­dent.

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