Israel's fire-fighters grounded following incident

Tel Aviv
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Israel's dedicated fleet of eight Air Tractor AT-802F fire-fighting turboprops has been grounded following a safety incident.

The aircraft are operated by Israeli company Chim-Nir. According to Alex Echtman, Chim-Nir chief executive, as one aircraft came in to land, the mechanism that initiates feathering of the propellor was engaged without the pilot releasing the safety catch.

"This happened just above the runaway and the pilot made a safe landing," he says.

Echtman says the eight Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-powered aircraft are now grounded until the manufacturer identifies the cause of the malfunction.

The incident is also being investigated by Israel's civil aviation authority.

Chim-Nir and Elbit Systems jointly operate the fire-fighting squadron from Megiddo airfield, in the north of the country, on behalf of the Israeli air force.