In an interview on radio service Kol Israel IAF Chief of Staff described the sequence of events and talked about the fighter jet’s experienced crew

Date: 11/11/2010, 11:17 AM    

“The crew flying the Soufa jet which crashed last night was a veteran crew, able and experienced and which we fully trust,” said Air Force Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. Nimrod Shefer, in an interview he gave Thursday morning (Nov. 11) on radio service Kol Israel.

“Around eight p.m. the jet hit the ground, a bit south of Mitzpe Ramon,” said Brig. Gen. Shefer, describing the events of the crash. “The jet was the leader of four F-16 planes, it’s crew experienced, veteran pilot and navigator.”

According to the IAF Chief of Staff, the training exercise, which took place on Wednesday, was “not too difficult” and was “a night exercise wherein the pilots were to attack planes acting as enemy planes.” Brig. Gen. Shefer explained that “during the flight it looked as though the plane hit the ground and from that moment we’ve been conducting searches.”

“The plane’s crew was made up of Maj. Amichay Itkis, a 28-year-old pilot from Sde Warburg. He was an experienced pilot very familiar with the Soufa jet. The navigator was Maj. Emanuel Levy, one of the first navigators to fly in the Soufa,” said IAF Chief of Staff who stressed that experience teaches, as in past crashes during exercises, “even experienced crews aren’t immune to accidents in the air.”