Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were lightly injured Sunday evening when their "Tzukit" training aircraft hit a porcupine that was standing on the runway as the plane was coming to land.
After the initial hit, the plane took off again and the soldiers took the plane in for another landing. They were both injured lightly and treated at the hospital.
According to the Israel Air Force website, the Tzukit is a two seat jet plane used for pilot testing and training at the IAF's pilots' academy. The plane is based on an original French Fouga Magister which was used by the IAF as a combat attack plane from the 1960s. The plane can reach a speed of 658 kilometers per hour and weighs between two to three tons.
The French plane was reworked by Israeli Aircraft Industries to carry advanced engines and avionics. The prototype for the training version (Tzukit) flew in September of 1980 and was received for regular use in June of 1983. All operational Tzukit planes were delivered to the IAF by 1986.
The last accident in the IAF happened during the second Lebanon war when two F-16I pilots ejected from their aircraft in a base in the south because of a technical problem. The accident happened probably due to an explosion of one of the tires during takeoff.
The plane, which was on the way to an attack sortie in Lebanon, was fully fueled and armed. The pilots were not able to stop the plane and eject as per their orders. Thanks to the pilots' actions the incident did not cause any fatalities. The plane itself was heavily damaged.