IDF reveals cause of August helicopter crash: Improper installation of joystick

According to the interim report regarding the Apache helicopter crash in August, the joystick that controlled the tail rotor was installed improperly and thus broke off while the helicopter was in flight. The problem severely impacted the pilot’s ability to control and land the aircraft. However, his actions saved his co-pilot’s life.
Apache helicopters Photo Credit: Adar Yahalom/Channel 2 News

The IDF released its interim report regarding the Apache helicopter crash in which Maj. (res.) Dudi Zohar was killed and another pilot was seriously injured. The crash occurred at Ramon Air Base about a month and a half ago. The findings of the preliminary investigation indicated that the pilots returned to the base in order to attempt an emergency landing due to a malfunction with the steering system. However, Zohar lost control of the helicopter and crashed.

According to the interim report’s findings, the steering system problem was the result of a joystick’s improper installation. The report concluded that Zohar remained calm during the incident despite the extreme situation and was able to bring the helicopter back to the base, which saved his co-pilot’s life. “We don’t know of any other team in the world that has dealt with such a situation,” the investigators wrote in their report.

About 45 minutes after the helicopter took off from the base, the joystick that controlled the tail rotor broke off, which seriously damaged the pilot’s ability to control the aircraft. The report concluded that there are problems with the installation guidelines for the joysticks and the IDF has contacted Boeing regarding the issue. “We met with the manufacturer and the US Army,” the report read. “This type of incident has never happened in the air.”

The Israeli Air Force has decided to return the Apache helicopters to operations after all of them were inspected following the crash. However, the investigation into the incident continues while the investigators are focusing on whether it was possible to recognize the issue with the joystick prior to the crash.  



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