TEL AVIV (Jan. 21)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan injured his ankle today when he jumped to the ground from a helicopter that landed in the Jordan Valley to rescue four civilian test pilots. But he was back in his office later in the day after his right ankle was placed in a plaster cast at a hospital. Gen. Dayan was returning by helicopter from a visit to Jordan Valley settlements when the aircraft was ordered to rescue the four pilots who bailed out of a Jet Commodore which developed trouble while being test flown. The Jet Commodore is a locally produced version of the American Jet Commander, a light commercial aircraft. The plane, which seats ten persons, is produced by Israel Aircraft Industry, Ltd.
It was on its third test flight when difficulties developed with the flap system causing the pilot to lose control. He and the co-pilot and two other test pilots aboard bailed out safely before the plane crashed.
Israeli authorities are investigating the accident. The manufacturer of the plane says it already has orders for 96 Jet Commodores and expects to start assembly line production shortly at the rate of two a month.