The death of a Greek fighter jet pilot whose Mirage 2000-5 crashed into the sea north of the central Aegean island of Skyros after returning from a mission to intercept Turkish jets brought the toll of Air Force losses since 1990 to 125 lost.
Georgios Baltadoros, 34, who was married was children, was killed when his jet fell from the sky after the mission, an accident that happened while he was reportedly flying low in poor visibility and with heavy sand from Saharan dust in the atmosphere over Greece but no cause was initially given.
Using available data, Kathimerini recounted the accidents and other causes of the losses to the Hellenic Air Force through 81 crashes in the last 28 years.
Fourteen F-4 fighter jets, 13 Mirage 2000’s — like the one Baltadoros piloted – 13 A-7 Corsair, 12 F-16 fighter jets, six F-1 and two C-130 have been lost.
Of the 125 total dead, 63 lost their lives in the crash of an C-130 at Mount Othrys in February 1991 as it flew from Elefsina to Nea Anchialos’ military airport, near Volos.
Only two military aircraft have fallen during dogfights with Turkish fighter jets. The first was in June 1992, when the old Mirage piloted by 1st Lt Nikos Sialmas crashed near the island of Agios Stratis in the northern Aegean, while trying to intercept a pair of Turkish jets.
In May 2006, Captain Kostas Eliakis died near the island of Karpathos when the Turkish F-16 he was pursuing crashed on top of Eliakis’ plane.