The IDF spokesman reported Monday night, Aug. 8 that an Israeli Air force Apache helicopter had crashed on a test flight for checking the Apache fleet’s fitness for operations upon returning to the Ramon Air Base in the Negev. The helicopter belonging to the 190th Squadron reported a technical misfunction and a few minutes later at 21:01 hours crashed between the two runways of the base. It came down from roughly the same altitude as the control tower of the Ramon base.
The forward pilot, Maj. David Zohar, a 43-year-old veteran pilot serving in reserve duty was killed on the spot. The rear pilot, a young lieutenant, was critically injured. His family previously lost a member in an air force action.
The Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel took charge of the incident from the base’s situation room. He appointed a panel of experts to investigate what caused the disaster, led by a senior helicopter engineer and representatives of Boeing, the manufacturer of Apache helicopters. Eshel ordered the entire Apache fleet grounded for the second time in two months – the first time when a rear rotor of one of the craft developed a crack.