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Landing gear collapse suspected in Israeli F-16 accident

Early indications suggest that one of the landing gears of an Israeli air force Lockheed Martin F-16D combat aircraft collapsed immediately after it touched the runway on 2 January, prompting its two-man crew to eject.

"The aircraft moved at about 300km/h [162kt] and they made the decision in 4sec," a source says, adding that the aircraft had begun to bank fiercely immediately after touching down at Ramat David air base.


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An air force F-16D suffered extensive damage during a similar mishap in 2005

In 2005 there was a similar accident with the same version of the F-16 at the same base (above), during which the aircraft came to rest upside down after its crew had ejected safely. The badly damaged fighter was returned to operational service last year, following a major rebuilding by air force engineers.

A full investigation into the latest mishap is continuing, with air force commander Maj Gen Amir Eshel having ordered a temporary suspension to training activities involving the F-16D in the wake of the incident.

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