July 17, 2008 (by Asif Shamim) - On Tuesday afternoon one of Israel's F-16s based at Nevatim airbase collapsed on to its belly after the passenger pulled the wrong handle causing the landing gear to retract. No injuries were reported.
The passenger Brigadier General Guy Tzur the head of the IDF
training base at Tze'elim has be criticized for his performance after the incident.
Tzur was being shown some of the capabilities of the jet. It is believed he accidentally pulled on the lever which retracted the wheels. According to the air force limited damage was done to the jet.
A senior IDF source said yesterday that, "fortunately, the accident happened after the plane had already landed. If the handle had been pulled during landing, the outcome would have been much more serious."
An air force investigation into the circumstances of the accident will now take place.
Nevatim is home airbase for 116 Sqn
'Defenders of the South' & 140 Sqn
'Golden Eagle' Squadrons. Both flying the F-16A/B block 15
has a policy in place which allows officers from other branches of the armed forced to ride in fighter jets. After this incident air force chief Ido Nehushtan said this policy will still continue.