Israel Air Force Holds Special Safety Course in Wake of Near-miss Incident

During a training exercise, two F-16d fighter jets passed within 100 meters of each other – in violation of safety regulations.

The Israel Air Force on Sunday held a special course series to review safety procedures, following a training incident that took place over the weekend, in which two senior IAF officers flying F-16 fighter jets passed each other in mid-air by less than 100 meters.

The incident occured last Friday, when the head of the IAF’s personnel department, Brig. Gen. Ilan Boger, and the commander of the Hatzerim air force base, Brig. Gen. Ziv Levy, flew two F-16d fighter jets, as part of a training exercise which began at the Haztor base in the Galilee.

The officers were meant to practice a move in which two planes fly past one another. During the drill, the two planes came within 100 meters of each other – a breach of security regulations.

Following the incident, IAF commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, ordered the entire air force to hold special conferences to refresh personnel on safety regulations and procedures for training – specifically for instances in which two planes must pass each other in close proximity.

In addition, the IAF’s Quality Control Unit briefed air force personnel on the incident. Israel Defense Forces officials stated that “In order to safely preserve a high level of operational preparedness, the air force must train in situations simulating reality as close as possible.”

A month ago, a Yasur helicopter was grounded following a technical malfunction that occurred during a training exercise. Flight crew detected a problem with one of the aircraft’s motors midflight, and performed an emergency landing in an open area near the Tel Nof air force base.

In late July, an F-16 fighter jet was involved in an incident during a mid-flight refueling drill, in which the pipe connecting the jet to the fuel craft was damaged.