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Two pilots of the Israeli Air Force made an emergency landing after their departure. F-15 fighter plane lost his awning during a training exercise at 30,000 feet.
The pilot and the navigator took off from Tel Nof Air Base in central Israel and headed south. During the flight, the canopy was suddenly detached for unknown reasons, exposing the two pilots to extreme cold of -45 ° C, violent turbulence and a deafening noise.
Once the crew realized that none of them had been injured by the sudden detachment of the canopy, they had estimated that they could bring the damaged aircraft to a safe landing at the Air Force Base. Nevatim, east of the city of Beersheba, in the south of the country.
The crew, who were to scream together, radioed the Nevatim control tower, about 15 km north of their position, which was alerted to prepare for an emergency landing.
The pilots, who were having trouble communicating with each other and were facing strong winds and bitter cold, slowed down their damaged aircraft and began an orderly descent to the air base where they landed safely.
According to a senior Air Force officer aware of the incident, there was no indication or warning until the canopy came off.
"It went from 0 to 100," he said. "Imagine moving from the calm of the canopy to a considerable boom and being exposed to all the elements. You must think, am I hurt, does my co-pilot agree? Pilots have to deal with a lot of things in seconds. "
"The pilot, Captain Y., and the navigator, Lieutenant R., led the demonstration in complex conditions where the aircraft and its crew posed a real risk," spokesman Israeli defense in a statement. "The aircraft crew maintained full control throughout the incident, exercised caution and professionalism and demonstrated great ability to manage the rare malfunction and then landed safely. at Nevatim Air Base. "
Following the incident, the commander of the IAF, the major-general. Amikam Norkin ordered to halt all training flights for the F-15 until the end of the investigation.
According to the senior air force officer, there were only three similar incidents in which an F-15 canopy was unloaded in full flight in the world. In 2004, another F-15 IAF lost its awning and, in 2014, an F-15 fighter from the US Air Force lost its awning during a training camp. routine off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. The crew landed at Kadena Air Force Base without being injured.
"It's a very rare incident," he told reporters on Monday about a 40-year-old jet, adding that the army was always looking for the canopy.
The Air Force, which is in contact with Boeing, who makes the jet, seeks to know if the awning has come off due to mechanical or technical failure.
"We are already in contact with the US manufacturer to understand the nature of the problem and its source," said the senior officer, adding that "the F-15 Falcon has undergone modifications and adjustments over the years and that he is still considered the most important aircraft of the Israeli Air Force. "
Most Israeli F-15s were acquired in the second half of the 1970s, and a more sophisticated F-15 squadron arrived in Israel in the 1990s.
The Air Force is in the process of ordering several new aircraft soon to modernize its aging squadrons, including a new Boeing F-15IA model.
The American giants of defense consider the F-15IA as one of the most advanced and most profitable combat aircraft ever built.
The aircraft will have fly-by-wire avionics to reduce maintenance costs and advanced sensors and displays offering high reliability. The wings of the jet aircraft were also designed to be able to use two additional external stations to carry a payload of 13,380 kilograms, including 12 air-to-air weapons and 15 air-to-ground or air-to-sea strike weapons. who are able to engage multiple targets simultaneously.
Officials believe that a group of forces consisting of stealth fighter aircraft F-35I Adir built by Lockheed Martin and an F-15IA squadron would allow Israel to carry out a number of fighters. complex operations, including a possible confrontation with Iran at its borders.
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