The plane was supposed to be delivered to the “Valley” squadron during a celebratory ceremony, but Operation “Protective Edge” began and the delivery of the plane was moved up
A year and a half ago, an F-16 C/D plane from the “Valley” squadron at the Ramat David airbase was damaged in an accident A year and a half after an F-16 C/D jet strayed from the landing strip and forced the pilot and weapons systems officer to eject, the plane finally returned last week to the air—and has already taken off for a successful operational flight over the Gaza Strip during Operation “Protective Edge”
A year and a half ago, an F-16 C/D plane from the “Valley” squadron at the Ramat David airbase was damaged in an accident. The plane was transferred to the Aerial Maintenance Unit at the Tel Nof airbase, which specializes in the restoration of airplanes after accidents and now it is playing an active role in Operation “Protective Edge”. “Flying the F-16 C/D would have seemed like a dream a few months ago, but today it conducted an airstrike in the Gaza Strip”, said Colonel Nir Barkan, commander of the Ramat David airbase, after the first airstrike conducted by the plane. “The Maintenance Division has once again shown its incredible strength. The Aerial Maintenance Unit played a large part in this reality”.
The plane was supposed to be delivered to the “Valley” squadron during a celebratory ceremony, but Operation “Protective Edge” began and the delivery of the plane was moved up. “This is not the time for ceremonies, but we thank you for the long period of work on the plane”, said Lieutenant Colonel M’, commander of the “Valley” squadron, to the soldiers of the Aerial Maintenance Unit. “Over the past week, you have been mobilized for an intense job around the clock, in order to move up the delivery of the plane to the air and to introduce into the fighting soon. The plane has returned home”.
Back to the Sky
On January 2nd, 2013, the plane took off for a routine training flight. While it was landing on the Ramat David airstrip, the aircrews discovered a technical malfunction in one of the wheels and out of concern that the plane might crash, they ejected out of the plane, which was proceeding at a speed of 400 kilometers an hour and stopped at the end of the airstrip. The pilot and weapons systems officer left the plane unharmed, but one of the wings, the undercarriage and other parts of the plane were damaged. “The plane arrived at the unit and after we conducted a review of the damage from the crash and ejection, we started working on it”, explains Colonel S’, Unit Commander. “All the parts of the plane that were damaged were fully repaired by our soldiers, engineers with much experience with similar incidents. Only a few places have the capabilities to restore planes that have been involved in accidents like this, capabilities that combine independent engineering, high level technical capabilities and production of parts using advanced technology. We in the Israeli Air Force have these capabilities and we are proud of that”.