The crew of an Israeli air force F-15 warplane fought freezing temperatures and buffeting winds to bring their aircraft down after its cockpit canopy flew off at 30,000 feet, the military said on Monday.
In a dramatic cockpit voice recording of the January 2 incident airmen can be heard shouting to one another over the roaring wind and engine noise, in what a military statement said were temperatures of -45 degrees Celsius (-49 Fahrenheit).
“Are you all right,” the navigator asks the pilot, identified in the statement as “captain Y”.
“Yes I’m fine,” he replies.
“We are without a canopy, proceeding for landing at the nearest base,” the pilot says over the radio in a calm voice.
He then notifies controllers he is heading to Nevatim air base in southern Israel.
The landing went without further incident, the statement said, adding that the air force chief of staff ordered an immediate halt to training flights in F-15s pending an investigation.
Haaretz newspaper said the air force has had a fleet of US-made F-15s since the 1970s and it had been considered the country’s top warplane until it began taking delivery of the US F-35 stealth fighter in December 2016.