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Lavi Passes Muster

A prototype of the Lavi, Israel’s second generation jet fighter plane, completed its first test flight Wednesday with flying colors.

According to test pilot Menahem Shmuel, the supersonic aircraft handled better than any he has ever flown. He said it was too early to tell whether the Lavi has a technological advantage over other fighter planes.

The initial test flight was limited to 30 minutes and an altitude of 12,000 feet because of weather conditions. Shmuel said it was airborne more quickly than expected and its response to controls was “very crisp and smooth.”

The landing was also precise and the performance of the aerodynamic brakes was “excellent.” The plane stopped a good 300 feet from the end of the runway, the test pilot said.