The faulty installation of a tail rotor flight control rod on a Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter led to a fatal crash at Ramon base, the Israeli air force has concluded.
An investigation committee has delivered its final report into the 7 August 2017 accident, which killed one crew member and injured a second. It attributes the mishap to an incorrect installation of the tail rotor component, which resulted in rapid wear and control rod disengagement.
The crash happened as the Apache was returning to base following a training flight. After reporting a technical problem, the pilot was instructed to attempt to land on one of its runways using an emergency procedure. It crashed 9min later, while over the runway preparing to land.
Following the accident, the air force swiftly determined that it was not linked to a tail rotor blade cracking issue that had previously been detected, prompting aircraft inspections and a shortened replacement schedule for the affected part.
The 7 August flight had been part of an effort to return the Apache fleet to full operational status after the fault's detection.
The air force has now removed a temporary grounding of its remaining Apaches, due to the report's findings.