From a preliminary investigation, conducted by the flight academy commander, Colonel T, it appears that the cadet followed protocol and ejected after the aircraft deviated from the planned flight course. IAF commander, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan ordered an investigation into the reasons for the aircraft’s deviation. The investigation will be headed by an officer at the Colonel rank, and all “Efroni” aircraft are to be grounded until investigation completes.
The “Efroni” replaced an older training aircraft, the “Zukit” (a French-made Fouga Magister) exactly a year ago, in July 2009. The single-engine turboprop aircraft is used by air forces around the world for basic pilot training. It is equipped with an ejection feature, which was not available on the “Zukit” air craft. There were two incidents where pilots ejected at ground level, both landing successfully. Maj. Gen. Alik, head of the “Efroni” project, said in an interview to the IAF Magazine: “no doubt, the “Efroni” is significantly safer than the “Zukit”.