Israeli Blackhawk makes emergency landing with IDF chief for second time

It was the second forced landing this year of a helicopter carrying Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

An Israel Air Force Blackhawk helicopter carrying the commander of Israel’s armed forces encountered technical problems in the air, but managed to make a forced landing, Israel Hayom reported Monday.

The report said that following a minor technical malfunction in an engine, the Blackhawk made an emergency landing Sunday at a base other than the one where it was supposed to land. There were no casualties in the incident and no damage was done to the helicopter.

After the landing, the chief of staff continued his journey by vehicle to the base he was supposed to reach and the IDF spokesman announced that an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the incident.

It is the second time this year that a Blackhawk carrying IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi has been forced out of the sky by a malfunction.

In a July incident the helicopter carrying Kochavi and other top IDF brass suffered engine failure and dropped to about 100 feet off the ground, but also managed to make a safe landing at a nearby base.

The July incident was traced to a flawed response by one of the pilots who noticed a malfunction had occurred in one of the helicopter’s two engines. The crew member tried to shut down the faulty engine, but apparently accidentally turned off the other engine, which almost led to the helicopter crashing to the ground.

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Following a series of other technical glitches, the air force grounded its entire fleet of an estimated 48 Blackhawks in August. The IDF said at the time that the Air Force would conduct a technical investigation of the helicopters and subsequently returned them to service.

Helicopter problems are not the only challenges that have grounded Kochavi this year. Israel’s top general has twice been forced into quarantine after coming into contact with people infected with the coronavirus. Kochavi tested negative for the virus both times, and isolated himself in his office where he could continue working at full speed during the quarantine.