April 28, 2008 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The IDF/AF will resume training flights of all but seven of its F-16I fighter jets, following a decision by Commander Maj.-Gen. Elazar Shkedy. The fleet had been grounded in late March after routine inspection detected presence of formaldehyde in three jets.
Magnificent image of the IDFAF's new F-16I at its homebase. [IDFAF photo]
The planes in which the carcinogenic material was found, are still grounded and the army is continuing efforts to pinpoint the source of the material in order to ensure the health of its pilots.
In mid March, the air force received complaints from several airmen who reported harsh chemical odors in the cockpits of the F-16I. Inspections by the corps revealed traces of formaldehyde, which in high concentrations in known as cancerous.
The IAF, along with a team assigned by Lockheed Martin – which manufactures the jets – began investigating the cause of the hazardous emission. The entire squadron was grounded by orders of IDF
Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi.
Lockheed Martin issued a statement saying in was "lending the Israeli Air Force every resource needed to investigate the matter"; adding the company has never has a similar complaint from any of its clients.