Israeli pilot and crew forced to eject at 300kph

By Anna Sheinman, January 2, 2013
An Israeli Air Force F-16 jet (Photo: Flash 90)

An Israeli Air Force F-16 jet (Photo: Flash 90)

An Israeli Air Force pilot and his navigator were forced to eject as their fighter jet touched down at 300kph due to a technical problem that could have caused the plane to crash.

The F-16 plane had been on a routine training flight on Wednesday and was coming in to land at the Ramat David air base in northern Israel when the crew noticed a potentially fatal malfunction. The crew reported this to mission control and ejected just seconds after the plane touched the ground, Israeli news outlet Ynet reported.

The plane eventually veered off the runway and came to a stop. It is currently being inspected by Air Force technicians and all F-16 fighter jets have been grounded until source of the malfunction is known.

"The airmen did the right thing,” an IAF source told Ynet. “They followed protocol. The jet could have flipped over and they could have been killed had they insisted on sticking to the landing."

The F-16 is a US made fighter jet first produced in the 1970s and serves in the air forces of 25 countries worldwide. Each plane is worth upwards of $30 million.

Last updated: 5:13pm, January 2 2013