Monday, 21 April 2014

Pilot killed in military plane crash

ČTK |
23 November 2012

Kolin, Central Bohemia, Nov 22 (CTK) - The pilot of the Czech subsonic one-seat L-159 military aircraft that crashed in central Bohemia Thursday afternoon was found dead in its wreckage, general staff spokeswoman Jana Ruzickova told CTK.

A commission of the Defence Ministry in charge of air accidents will investigate the case, she added.

After similar cases, the planes of the type concerned are usually temporarily grounded.

The aircraft crashed before 17:30 when returning from a training flight, Ruzickova said.

"The pilot, aged 34, died when training night piloting. He crashed into the ground," Petr Lanci, commander of the Caslav air base, told the paper Mlada fronta Dnes.

"I have too little information to tell you what were the circumstances of the accident," he added.

The Central Bohemia firefighters' spokeswoman Lenka Kostkova told CTK that the aircraft fell down to a field.

Radovesnice I Mayor Danuse Duskova said she had not known about the plane's fall and the information was only confirmed to her by the police.

"I can only confirm that the aircraft fell between the villages of Radovesnice and Krechor. I have no details," she added.

An eye-witness called the emergency line to announce that he had heard a blow and had seen a flash, she added.

According to available information, the L-159 fighter has only crashed once, on February 24, 2003, in the Jince military training ground in central Bohemia.

The experienced pilot, aged 30, did not survive the crash.

The accident was caused by a mistake of the pilot who was doing a dangerous manoeuvre at a too low altitude.

Another collision involving the L-159 occurred in August 2010 when the pilot lost control and drove off the runway at the Namest nad Oslavou air base.

The Aero L-159 ALCA is a one-seat, one-engine subsonic combat aircraft manufactured in the Czech Republic.

The Czech air force has been using it since 2003.

The project of the L-159 training combat aircraft was to provide crucial help to the aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody and to be one of the pillars of the Czech arms industry.

The Czech military ordered 72 aircraft, but it actually only uses one-third of them.

The state has tried in vain to sell the remaining aircraft for years.

The Defence Ministry recently put up an ad offering eight redundant L-159 fighters.

In October, an Iraqi delegation voiced interest in 28 L-159 planes, 24 of which are to be new and another four those now managed by the Defence Ministry.

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