Air force jet makes emergency landing when wheel fails to deploy; training suspended

No injuries but F-15i damaged after it lands on only two wheels; incident under investigation as air force chief orders temporary halt to exercises

An Israeli F-15I fighter jet (photo credit: Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash 90)
An Israeli F-15I fighter jet (photo credit: Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash 90)

The Israel Air Force said Friday it was suspending training exercises for the F-15i fighter after a jet was forced to make an emergency landing when crew noticed a wheel had not descended as it should.

There were no injuries in the incident but the plane sustained damage.

According to a statement from the military, crew members noticed the wheel had not deployed correctly and carried out a number of procedures to try to fix the situation.

However, eventually they were forced to land the plane on a base in the south of the country using only two of its three wheels.

Air Force chief Amikam Norkin ordered an investigation into the incident and said all F-15i planes should be grounded aside from those involved in operational activities.

Last month the air force announced an F-15i fighter jet almost crashed during a drill.

According to the military, that incident occurred during a training exercise on dealing with air and ground threats, “when the pilot turned his attention to the aircraft’s screen and did not notice that he had lost height and was heading into the ground.”

A disaster was averted when the jet’s navigator realized what was happening and pulled the fighter out of its dive. The army said training exercises were called off until the incident was investigated and lessons learned.

Last year, a “Snunit” training aircraft carrying a pilot’s course cadet, Cpl. Lihu Ben-Bassa, 19, and his trainer, Maj. (res.) Itay Zayden, 42, crashed near Kibbutz Mishmar Hanegev in southern Israel, killing both of them.

The investigation into the deadly crash failed to determine what caused the aircraft to go down.

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