Investigation: IAF helicopter crashed due to break in rotor blade
Cobra helicopters will return to operational status more than month after accident claimed lives of IAF pilots Noam Ron and Erez Flekser. Investigation reveals crash caused by break in rear rotor blade. ‘Age of helicopter not issue in crash’
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said Friday that Cobras will return to active duty in the next few days, after they were grounded following the accident.
- Report: Technical failure cause of helicopter crash
- 2 killed as IDF plane crashes near training base
The investigations team led by Colonel N. presented its intermediate findings to Air Force Commander Major General Amir Eshel. According to the report, the crash was a result of a break in a tail rotor blade. The report further stated that the accident was not related to human error, or to the age of the helicopter. Families of the pilots have been updated on the findings.
The cause of the break in the blade is unknown, but it is assumed that it was the result of being hit by another item, such as a screw. The Air Force has ruled out the possibility that the break was caused by a bird or locust.
Air Force Commander Eshel has ordered that Cobras return to operational duty, including stand-by status and full training. As part of their return to operations, all Cobras will be inspected and their maintenance program adjusted.
Immediately after the accident, Eshel held briefings with the head of IAF helicopter squadrons, Brigadier General David Barky, along with senior commanders. They discussed the investigation, the future of trainings, and operational status of the Cobra squadron.
The initial investigation immediately after the crash found that two Cobras had completed a joint training flight in the south and one of them had returned safely to the Palmahim base. Pilots on the second helicopter never reported any difficulties.
The investigation revealed that the craft dove from a height of 400 meters, and the radius of wreckage was spread over 300-400 meters. “We’re six minutes from landing,” the pilots reported moments before the fatal crash.
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