The interception exercise to which four F-15D planes took off could have ended in a catastrophe. One minute after takeoff, the leading plane impacted flocks of pelicans. As a result, both of the plane's engines were damaged and one of them erupted into flames.
"The timing of the impact, immediately after takeoff, was critical", explained Lieutenant Colonel Tomer, Commander of the Squadron. "It's a matter of a second to here or there, and this entire incident could have ended very differently".
But it is not luck that was on the two crew members' side that day, but the unusual level-headedness and professionalism with which they acted.
"The smooth operation of the event is not to be taken for granted", said Lieutenant Colonel Tomer. "You always expect from people to work professionally, but it's not always easy. This landing required a particularly high level of aviation skills, without even a moment to ponder or mull over possibilities. You can't blink even for a second".