September 13, 2009 (by Asif Shamim) - An F-16A from the IDFAF crashed in the Southern Hills near Hebron on Sunday. The pilot who was killed was the son of the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia accident in 2003.
An F-16A similar to this crashed killing the pilot Lt. Assaf Ramon
The pilot Lt. Assaf Ramon, 20, was on his 47th training flight since completing his pilot training in June 2009. The aircraft crashed during a routine flight as part of the advanced pilot training course.
IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan and the head of the IDF
Manpower Division Avi Zamir personally delivered the sad news to his mother, Rona Ramon's at there home.
The news of the crash has been taken badly within the Nations defence forces, especially within the airforce who regarded Ilan Ramon as a legend. Ramon senior was a colonel in the airforce and was the first Israeli in space.
Assaf enlisted in the airforce in 2006 to follow in his father footsteps soon after the Columbia tragedy. He graduated in June of this year as the classes valedictorian. Lt. Ramon received a presidential citation and was given his pilot's wings by President Shimon Peres
The cause of the accident was under investigation and is complicated by the large crash scene. Debris is reported to be spread over a large area of land near the settlement of P'nei Chever.
An eye witness account have suggested that Assaf may have tried to eject.
The Commander of the IAF, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan appointed an investigative committee to examine the circumstance of the plane crash. All F-16 training flights have been cancelled until further notice.