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IAF Ground Tech's Ear Saves Pilot's Life

SFC Haim Adani ordered an F-16 pilot to stand down before takeoff because his gut told him the engine sounded wrong - and saved his life.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 1/18/2012, 9:49 PM

The roar of jet fighter engines up close shakes the body to the bone and jars the senses. But the deafening noise is as regular as breathing for IAF ground crews who service the planes at Israel's air bases.

Last week, one experienced ground technician, used to hearing the same voice from an F-16 fighter's engine, averted a fatal accident.

SFC Haim Adani, a technician attached to the "Knights of the North" squadron from Ramat David airbase, ordered his pilot and F-16 to stand down and remain on the ground at the last minute.

During a routine check before the flight, Adani identified a strange noise coming from the F-16's engine.

"I heard the sound a bit odd, and even though there was no reason to suspect something was really wrong,  I decided to call someone senior and stop the flight," Adani said. "I just followed my gut feeling."

Later, after a detailed inspection, Adani's gut feeling was borne out when a critical fault was found in the engine.

"I'm very glad something much worse didn't happen," Adani said, "I'm not looking for praise, and I'm not looking for honor. I'm just glad I did my job."

"This is the height of professionalism for our technicians," Lt. Col. Moshe Abu, the squadron leader at Ramat David said. "Haim Adani proved he is possessed of the full array of values we expect from our ground crews: responsibility, safety, professionalism, leading by personal example and commitment."

Adani will be honored this weekend when he is awarded a commendation by the base commander for his excellent work.