Maj. (Res.) David Zohar was killed and another aircrew member was severely injured in a “Peten” (AH-64 “Apache”) attack helicopter crash which occurred last night (Monday) in Ramon AFB. The IAF attack helicopter division has been grounded until the completion of the investigation
A routine training sortie in a “Peten” (AH-64 “Apache”) attack helicopter from the “Magic Touch” Squadron ended tragically last night (Monday) when the helicopter crashed near the landing strip in Ramon AFB. The crash was the apparent result of a technical malfunction that had been reported by the crew minutes before returning to base.
Major (Res.) David Zohar, a pilot in reserve service, was killed in the crash. The co-pilot was critically injured and evacuated to a hospital. An Air-Force commission to review the circumstances of the crash has commenced by the order of Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, IAF Commander. The IAF expresses its sincere condolences to Maj. Zohar’s family and will continue escorting both families. The “Magic Touch” Squadron and IAF Attack Helicopter Division mourn the death of their friend and brother in arms.
Maj. (Res’) David Zohar
Maj. David Zohar’s funeral will be held today (Tuesday) August 8, 2017, at 18:30 in the Haifa Military Cemetery. The family requests to refrain from media coverage of the funeral.
The IAF’s “Apache” helicopter fleet had been in the midst of gradually regaining its fitness after being grounded over a month ago following the recommendation of technical authorities in the IAF. Following the crash, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel ordered that the attack helicopter division be grounded until the completion of the investigation.
Hundreds of Sorties
The “Apache” helicopter division has a significant place in the IAF’s routine operational activity. The IAF operates the “Peten” (AH-64 “Apache”) and “Saraf” (AD-64 “Apache Longbow”). It is a two-seat attack helicopter, designed for night and day combat, mostly against ground targets.
The first two “Apache” helicopter landed in Israel in September 1990. A day later, the IAF’s first “Apache” squadron was opened in Ramon AFB and the helicopter was named “Peten”, Hebrew for Desert Cobra.
The squadron performed its first operational mission on October 24, 1990, a targeted attack in Lebanon, about six months after the establishment of the squadron. The IAF’s apache helicopters have been participating in routine security missions and performing targeted attacks against terror targets since.
In September 1993, 24 additional “Apache” helicopters were integrated in the IAF. In 2005 the IAF purchased “Saraf” (“Apache Longbow”) helicopters. In the Second Lebanon War, the helicopters performed hundreds of sorties which included missions such as close air support, targeted attacks and escorting transport helicopters.