|Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov (photo courtesy of his family)|
The pilot, Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov, was buried in his home town of Mazor - a Moshav (farming village) east of Tel Aviv. The 34 year old pilot, who was recently promoted to deputy squadron commander of the 119 Squadron, leaves behind a daughter and a pregnant wife. He is described by those who knew him as, "simply a great guy, a fabulous uncle, and the number one brother."
Flying a supersonic fighter is hazardous even in peacetime. These are extremely complicated machines, operating at very high speed, often where the slightest mistake can mean almost certain death. For a small nation such as Israel, the death of one of its sons is not taken lightly. The men (and now women) who operate these aircraft risk their lives to do so because their nation's security depends on them. It is a daily gamble, but a necessary one.
According to reports, Maj. Nov's airplane was returning from an air strike in Gaza (in retaliation for rockets fired at Israeli towns), when his aircraft experienced technical difficulty. He was flying with assymmetric loading - one wing free of bombs and the other still loaded - and had already aborted an attempted landing. It was during the second landing attempt that his aircraft reportedly caught fire, forcing the pilot and his navigator to eject. In the ejection sequence for the two-seat aircraft, the navigator ejects first, and the pilot immediately after. In a situation such as this, those seconds can be crucial.
As his family mourns his loss, we should all be reminded of the sacrifices that the young men and women of the IDF are called upon to make every day, and without which there would be no Israel, no Jewish State, and no man, woman or child left alive in Israel.