Losses and Aviation Safety

THAT TIME AN ISRAELI AIR FORCE F-15 BAZ LANDED WITH ONE WING MISSING

The F-15 Baz No. 957 would eventually be repaired and after having scored three air-to-air victories during the 1982 Lebanon War, it shared the kill of another Syrian MiG-23 on Nov. 19, 1985

On May 1, 1983, while performing a dissimilar air combat training (DACT) mission over the Negev, an Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-15 Baz (actually the F-15D No. 957) collided with an A-4 Skyhawk.

The A-4 pilot had to eject from his aircraft since it was irremediably damaged.

Instead the right wing of the Baz was sheared off roughly 2 ft (60 cm) from the root.

Zivi Nedivi (pilot) and Yehoar Gal (navigator), the F-15 crewmembers, did not initially realize the extent of the damage, as fuel leaking profusely and vaporizing at the wing attachment was obscuring their view of the area where the wing once was.

As explained by Shlomo Aloni in his book Israeli F-15 Eagle Units in Combat, the Baz started rolling uncontrollably after the collision. Nedivi lit the afterburner, and eventually regained control of the aircraft. He was able to maintain control because of the lift generated by the large areas of the fuselage, stabilators, and remaining wing. Diverting to Ramon Airbase, the F-15 landed at twice the normal speed to maintain the necessary lift, and its tailhook was torn off completely during the landing.

The Israeli Air Force F-15D Baz ‘957’ involved in the incident, seen here in 2011 with its right wing repaired

According to uss-bennington.org, Nedivi managed to bring his F-15 to a complete stop approximately 20 ft (6 m) from the end of the runway. He was later quoted as saying “(I) probably would have ejected if I knew what had happened.” However, he also stated that above a certain speed, the F-15 acted “like a rocket” and did not need wings, effectively becoming something similar to a lifting body.

The F-15 that was nicknamed Markia Schakim (Sky Blazer) and belonged to 106 Squadron, was transported by road to an IAF maintenance unit at Tel Nof, where it was repaired.

The aircraft would eventually be repaired and after having scored three air-to-air victories (in the form of three Syrian fighters, one MiG-21 and two MiG-23s) during the 1982 Lebanon War, the Baz shared the kill of another Syrian MiG-23 on Nov. 19, 1985.

In the following video Zivi Nedivi explains how he was able to land F-15D No. 957 with most of its right wing missing.

Photo credit: Israeli Air Force and Alan Lebeda via Wikipedia

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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