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The military that knew too little: What the press is saying on November 25

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1. Questions after the crash: IDF investigators are puzzling over the crash of a training plane carrying an air force instructor and a cadet learning to fly, which appeared to occur out of nowhere.

  • According to an IDF spokesman, the weather at the time of the crash was fine and the pilots did not radio the tower to report any sort of malfunction.
  • “There were no signs ahead of the crash,” Kan reports, noting that instructor, later named as Itay Zayden, was an experienced fighter pilot and the cadet, Lihu Ben Bassa, had been in the program for four months. “They were in contact with the tower, flew at the correct height, at the proper speed, the weather was nice, and there was no emergency signal or and no special contact with the ground ahead of the accident.”
  • Nonetheless, Channel 12 news, which first reported that investigators believe the crash may have been caused by a problem with the plane’s rudder, changes tack by Wednesday morning and forwards a whole bunch of other theories, from a bird hitting the cockpit to a lack of concentration, to a sudden medical emergency (it says the IDF has ruled out suicide), though the bottom line is nobody knows anything yet.
  • “In the air force they estimate that this was a sharp, quick and perhaps surprising incident which required the pilots to focus on dealing with the issue immediately, in such a way that they did not manage to report in over the radio. According to the assessments, the two were busy exclusively with trying to save themselves and the plane.”
  • The channel notes that the plane had no black box or ejector seat, but was set up in such a way that the instructor could grab the wheel in case of emergency.
  • Aviation expert Aaron Lapidot tells the channel that from eyewitness descriptions “it seems that the pilots tried to carry out some sort of emergency landing.”
  • “The fact that the plane glided and then bounced into the air and then crashed could point to the pilots trying to bring the plane down with an emergency landing after discovering a malfunction that necessitated a landing,” he says.
  • Yisrael Shaffir, the former head of the IDF’s flight training program, tells Army Radio that “it was one of two things — a mechanical failure or a loss of control of the plane. In this case, the lack of communication with the ground does not help.”
  • Walla reports that the ground crew did not even know the plane had crashed until it got a report from a civilian helicopter flying nearby about an aircraft on fire and black smoke rising from the ground. “At that point, the control tower and ground crew at the Hatzerim air base tried to raise the pilot and cadet by radio, and when no response came they understood that something out of the ordinary had occurred.”
  • Israel Hayom’s Yoav Limor writes that the IDF believes the mechanical malfunction theory to be the most plausible, and that the flight was a simple one, with no maneuvering, in order to test if the cadet had the skills to continue in the course. But he expresses confidence the army will figure it out eventually.
  • “Past experience teaches that even in the........

    © The Times of Israel

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