First Report Indicates Weight Imbalance Caused F-16 Crash

An Israel Air Force Netz F-16, December 31, 2015. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)
An Israeli Air Force F-16. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

Initial findings from the Israeli Air Force investigation into the fatal crash of an F-16 indicated that a weight imbalance due to a bomb on one wing that had not been dropped in a Gaza strike on Wednesday was likely the cause of the tragedy, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“The weight on one side was greater than the other side due to a bomb remaining on one of the wings. The lack of balance makes it very hard to land. The plane needs to land with both wings parallel to the ground… the plane will naturally lean to the heavier wing,” Aharon Lapidot, a flight expert who served in the IAF, told Israeli Radio 103 FM Thursday morning.

The IAF published a report Thursday morning regarding the crash that resulted in the death of the pilot, Deputy Squadron Commander Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov.

Lapidot explained that under such circumstances any landing would entail risks, which Maj. Nov was presumably aware of. That probably accounts for the fact that he pulled out of a first landing before attempting a second one at the Ramon airbase in the Negev. The F-16 caught fire before exploding.

Lapidot noted that if Nov felt he could not save the aircraft, then deciding to eject was the correct decision. “In that case, first the navigator ejects and then the pilot. There is a difference of a second between them, but it appears this was the fateful second.”
Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov, 34, left behind a daughter and wife who is expecting. The levayah was scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. in Moshav Mazur near Rishon Letzion.