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One-Winged Eagle

Built by McDonnell Douglas upon orders by the Vietnam-torn USA to counter MiG-25s, the F-15 Eagle aircraft stood out among its contemporaries by scoring a remarkable success.

Designed during the Cold War, this large aircraft is currently produced and serviced by Boeing for many years to come. However, neither its advantages over the MiG nor its manoeuvrability is the subject of this article. One of these aircraft, which had entered service with the Israeli Air Force in 1977, took part in a serious accident in 1983. On May 1, 1983, six aircraft flew over Israel’s Negev Desert for air defence training. These were; two F-15Ds and four A-4N Skyhawk trainers. According to the training scenario, F-15Ds would be on the defensive while Skyhawk were supposed to attack. When the accident happened, the F-15D #957 and A-4N #374 were flying at an altitude of 13.000ft. Inverting his aircraft and pulling up, the pilot of the A-4N was not aware of the F-15D right above him.

In an attempt to avoid a mock missile delivered by the F-15D, the aircraft tried to manoeuvre out of the way. Its wing ripped into F-15D’s wing root, shearing off the right wing of this jet. Following the incident, there was a huge fireball caused by the A-4N; however, the pilot could successfully eject himself. Left without a pilot, the A-4N fell onto the sea shortly thereafter.

On the other hand, chaos awaited the twin-seat F-15D. The stricken Eagle was now in a 30-degree nose-down attitude and spiralling down. During the investigation launched in the aftermath of the accident, the pilot would tell that he had reacted instinctively to give more fuel to the engine and thus he could stop spinning. 

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