The Commander of the IAF ordered a half day suspension of training flights in the force following a number of security-related incidents that have recently occurred. In the latest incident, a pilot operating an F-16I fighter jet experienced vertigo during a training exercise above the sea and the weapon systems officer took over the controls and safely landed the plane
This week the IAF will halt all routine training flights in order to hold safety training. Major General Amir Eshel, the IAF Commander, ordered it following a number of incidents that have recently occurred on the force’s airbases that were likely to lead to loss of human life. Despite the suspension of training flights, operational activities will continue as scheduled.
Monday’s safety-related incident occurred during “Sufa” (F-16I) training exercise. During one of the flights above the sea, one of the pilots began to experience vertigo (disorientation) and lost control of the plane. The weapons system officer in the backseat understood what was happening and took over the controls. He stabilized the plane and safely landed it.
This safety-related incident, like the previous ones, will be investigated and studied by the relevant officials in the force. The IAF always works to reduce the number of safety-related incidents and increase awareness of the dangers of flying.
What Is Flight Vertigo?
Vertigo is a phenomenon in the world of aviation, in which the pilot loses the sense of spatial orientation. This condition stems often results from complex flight conditions: overcast, darkness and precipitation, when the pilot uses spatial coordinates and not just the aircraft systems (referred to as “flight instruments”).
In such cases, the pilots can make extreme moves, such as a high-altitude flight, high speed or sharp maneuvers, while their vestibular system, which is responsible for balance and internal equilibrium, makes them feel stable. The sense of vertigo in-flight can be dangerous to the aircrew member trying to steady the plane based on wrong perception.