Another Yasur helicopter makes emergency landing; none injured
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Another Yasur helicopter makes emergency landing; none injured

For third time in 6 months, an aging heavy transport chopper faces a ‘technical malfunction’ during a flight

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

An Israeli Yasur heavy transport helicopter flies over Hatzerim air base in southern Israel on June 24, 2015. (Oren Rozen/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)
An Israeli Yasur heavy transport helicopter flies over Hatzerim air base in southern Israel on June 24, 2015. (Oren Rozen/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)

A Yasur heavy transport helicopter made an emergency landing in central Israel on Sunday evening, in the third such case in six months, the military said.

No one was injured in the incident, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The military said a maintenance team was working to repair the helicopter and get it flying again.

This was the latest in a series of malfunctions in the IDF’s aging fleet of Yasur helicopters, which are due to be replaced in the coming years.

In November, the pilots of one such aircraft were forced to make an emergency landing in an open field in southern Israel following a technical failure in a gear connected to its left rotor, which caused a fire that destroyed the aircraft. The pilots’ quick actions — landing the helicopter in under a minute — were credited with allowing all 14 soldiers on board to escape unscathed.

A firefighter works to extinguish a blaze on a helicopter that made an emergency landing in a field outside of Rahat in the Negev desert on November 26, 2019. (Fire and Rescue Services)

In January — two weeks after the helicopters were cleared for flight, having been grounded following the November incident — another Yasur helicopter made an emergency landing, that time in the southern West Bank, until mechanics were able to fix the aircraft and send it back to its base.

Israel’s fleet of Yasur heavy transport helicopters was purchased from the United States in the late 1960s. Though the aircraft have been upgraded and restored in the interim five decades, they are widely seen in the military as ready for retirement in favor of newer models.

In 2010, an Israel Defense Forces Yasur helicopter crashed during a joint exercise of the IAF and Romanian Air Force, killing the five people on board.

That crash was found to have apparently been caused by human error.

In 1997, two Yasur helicopters collided in the air while en route to locations in the country’s then-security zone in southern Lebanon. Seventy-three soldiers were killed in what was Israel’s most devastating air disaster.

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