Thursday, September 17, 2009

Israel Air Force Apache makes emergency landing



The grounded Apache (photo: Avihu Shapira)

An Israel Air Force Apache helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in the Upper Galilee on Tuesday night due to a technical malfunction, the Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday.

The chopper landed safely in a field near Kibbutz Gonen. No injuries or damage were reported, and the Air Force has launched an investigation into the incident.The AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter for a crew of two.Military sources said that while it appears the malfunction was not a serious one, the technical crew dispatched to the landing site opted to ground the helicopter in order not to aggravate it.

The Apache took off from the Ramon Air Base in the Negev for a routine training flight on Tuesday night. During the flight, the pilot radioed in a technical malfunction and was ordered to land in the nearest possible location.Once on the ground, the helicopter was placed under IDF guard.

The incident comes at a time when the IAF is still reeling from the tragic F-16 crash which claimed the life of Captain Asaf Ramon, son of late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon.Ramon's jet crashed off South Mount Heborn on Sunday afternoon. IAF Commander Major-General Ido Nehushtan ordered an inquiry into the crash.

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