Friday's plane crash near Moshav Batzra is the second in just over two months to have claimed four lives in one go. And those eight deaths constitute almost three times the number of people who died in civil aviation accidents in all of 2007.

In the last accident, on August 7, a light plane crashed at Haifa Airport. Three people died instantly, and the fourth died of his injuries about a month later.

In the annual aviation safety report for 2007 that he submitted about six months ago, Israel's chief aerial accident investigator, Yitzhak Raz, warned that "civil commercial aviation in Israel is on a dangerous trend that must be stopped and changed immediately."

"There are still many flaws in the organization and supervision of the general and sport aviation sectors," he wrote. "This year, the trend of a rise in the number of safety incidents continued, due to a weakening of flight discipline and a decline in the impact of enforcement activities."

The Transportation Ministry responded at the time by promising to devote more funding to this issue and take other measures to improve flight safety.

Israel has several flight schools, most located in Herzliya.