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View Full Version : Soviet downing of KAL 007 in 1978!


LatviaCalling
13th Apr 2001, 03:39
In view of the U.S.-China flap, there comes to mind a little-known/remembered aircraft incident which happened while I was posted to then Leningrad, USSR, for UPI as the first and only foreign correspondent.

On April 20, 1978, Soviet MiGs (I believe they were 21s) shot at and forced down a KAL B707-320B on a forzen lake between Archangel and Murmansk. Two passengers inside the plane were machinegunned to death, four were injured, and the rest were put in holding pens until the suits (diplomats) decided what to do with them.

Eventually a U.S. rescue crew on a TWA B727 arrived at Pulkovo International airport not knowing what to do. I remember being at the airport with my trusty Nikon and a 400 mm lens clicking away at the TWA plane with signs all around saying "Nyiet" photograps.

After much back and forth, it was decided to allow the TWA plane to fly to Murmansk to pick up the survivors, but only if a Russian navigator accomapnied the flight, because at that time apparently Murmansk ATC did not speak any English, and of course, for other security and intelligence reasons.

After the return trip, I remember being briefed by the two American diplomats who were allowed to go on the rescue mission that the passengers were not treated by the Russians as "first class citizens," to put it mildly.

This first KAL incident has been burried and forgotten since the second one in 1983 when the Soviets shot down the KAL B747 over the Shakallin islands with the loss of all onboard.

Isn't it ironic that both flight numbers were 007?

Are there any of you out there that do remember the above incident? If so, I'd appreciate getting some feedback. What happened to the plane? Surely the ice would have melted during the summer. Did it sink or did KAL recover it -- or did the Soviets recover it?

Communications between Leningrad and London/New York were at best difficult during those times and I don't have a hard copy remaining of what I filed over the phone those five or so days.

The Internet refers to the incident, but I can't find a site that gives me any further information than what I filed, myself.

Thanks for any help?

Offchocks
13th Apr 2001, 04:07
As far as I can remember the story at the time was a problem with the navigation systems (INS), this was thought to be human induced.
I was flying out of Paris to Edinburgh that day (KAL was also out of Paris), ATC kept calling KAL 007 all the way up to Scotland but did not get any replies. Makes me think they must have had a radar track on him for some of the time.

LatviaCalling
13th Apr 2001, 04:17
You're absolutely right. That KAL flight did come out of Paris and as I remember now, there were quite a few foreigners aboard, including Americans. Thus the TWA 727.

Rollingthunder
13th Apr 2001, 04:43
I think the flight in 1978 was KAL902.

Did a quick search on the net but didn't come up with much of substance.

G.Khan
13th Apr 2001, 06:42
No idea how true this is but I heard that as they were using the original INS type system of navigation the aircraft reached the final waypoint that could be programmed at any one time, 9, and then turned towards waypoint 0, probably Paris or somewhere near. It has been suggested that the reason this all went by without corrective action is that the crew were asleep!!!

Blacksheep
13th Apr 2001, 12:04
Nah. Waypoint zero is at zero degrees North, zero degrees West. That is, where the Greenwich Meridian intercepts the Equator in the Gulf of Guinea south of Accra.

"The Elephants Graveyard" as we navigation technicians fondly referred to the location where all lost Carousel Navigation Units return to die. (Or to morrow for Aussie ones!)

**********************************
Through difficulties to the cinema

Jim lovell
13th Apr 2001, 17:19
KAL 007 in 1983 was on a flight from Anchorage- Seoul. It is not known whether it was an INS error or an intentional violation of airspace by the korean pilots. But the wreckage was never recovered, the bodies were never recovered and many questions remain. Did the plane perhaps land at Sahkalin and the pax and crew all taken prsioner???

18Wheeler
13th Apr 2001, 19:06
I can remember talking to a guy that flew the plane out of the USSR, but I can't remember his name, bugger it all ...
I think it might've been Frank Ricchi, but I'm not sure.
I'll email him and ask, then let you know.

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18Wheeler
14th Apr 2001, 04:17
Here's the reply I got, not quite an answer, but part of it anyway.
----------------------------------
Hi bill,
I didn't know that they flew that 707 out of there. I was involved though. I flew the survivors of that event from Murmansk to Helsinki in a 727. The 707 was shot down by a Russian fighter plane, and landed on a frozen lake, gear down and no damage to the plane except a couple of bullet holes. Glad to hear you're
doing ok. frank
---------------------------------

Doesn't really answer your question, but it does perhaps prove that it's a small world.

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LatviaCalling
14th Apr 2001, 04:49
18Wheeler,

I would appreciate if you could get in touch with your friend Frank and maybe have him E-mail me about what he remembers. I was not allowed to go on that plane to Murmansk because of Soviet restrictions. This whole thing is just to settle some unfinished business in my personal history.

18Wheeler
14th Apr 2001, 08:06
Shouldn't be a bother - email me at [email protected] and I'll pass it on.
Not sure if he wants his email address public, so best done that way. ;)

Wino
14th Apr 2001, 11:04
Gorbochav returned the black boxes at the end of the coldwar from KAL 007.

It showed that though the INS had been programmed correctly, it had never been enganged, the aircraft had proceded in heading mode the entire way.

The Soviets recovered most of the aircraft (though they denied that they did at the time) and put it all in a pit and set it on fire (including the bodies and personal effects recovered.

Glasnot proved that everything the soviets had claimed at the time was an outright lie.

Cheers
Wino

Notso Fantastic
14th Apr 2001, 15:15
Blacksheep, must dig out my Carousel book somewhere, but wasn't waypoint zero the last position you did a 'go direct pres pos to waypoint x'?
I had forgotten 2 people got killed in this. Talk of machine gunning- was that during the force down or military action after crashlanding?

Dunhovrin
14th Apr 2001, 17:03
Somebody correct me on this (shoot me down?) but is it true that the great circle from the edge of Anchorage radar cover to Seoul cuts across Sakhalin? There was a waypoint that doglegged around Soviet airspace but if you were lazy/in a hurry you would bypass this and just go direct to Seoul.

Told to me by an BA flight eng so feel free to castigate me for talking bullshift.

Gateway
14th Apr 2001, 17:53
Not as experienced as most but anyway....

As (admitadly) influenced by lecturers, this one in aerodynamics and closely related to the RAAF, I was lead to believe a not so innocent story. As said: from what I've been told;

The aircraft was piloted by ex US "influenced" (CIA, FBI, USAF, yeah, yeah; conspiracy theory) crew flew into foreign AND SENSITIVE USSR airspace, were continually requested, then ordered to leave, the airspace, then intercepted, and finally shot down.

Tell me the same would not happen today in the US if a Cuban aircraft flew into senstive US airspace an failed to acknowledge all attempts to communicate? We're not that naive are we?

Admitadly, wasn't there and only going off what I've been told. If I'm wrong; I'd love to learn from those who know more.

LatviaCalling
14th Apr 2001, 19:10
Some of you may be confused because you are talking about two different aircraft downed by the Soviets. Both were KAL, but in the 1978 incident it was a 707 and in 1983 it was a 747. My original posting concered the 1978 incident, which apparently has dropped off the pages of history.

Notso Fantastic,
In the 1978 incident, The KAL 707 was definitely fired upon and hit by MiGs while still in the air.

According to passengers it was machinegun fire which which went through the cabin and killed two passengers. Four people were injured.

The pilot then dropped the plane and landed it on a frozen lake -- a feat in itself -- not to mention doing it with your plane shot up and MiGs swarming around you.

Reports say they were MiG-21s, but did the 21 carry machine guns. Could have been MiG-19s. Anyway, I remember seeing photograps taken aboard either the KAL plane or the TWA rescue plane of bandaged up passengers.

18Wheeler,

Firing off an e-mail to you.

DCDriver
14th Apr 2001, 23:42
I was always under the impression that the KAL 707 was NOT ins-equipped. The a/c flew in a very wide arc to the right of the track up towards Svalbard, and thence down over the Kola Peninsula. This would suggest that the navigator had input the variation correction (to get True) into the Gyro-Compass the wrong way.
It was a well-known "gotcha" on 7-oh's and DC8's until basic ins came along.
DCD

LatviaCalling
14th Apr 2001, 23:49
Rollingthunder,

As you so correctly pointed out, the 1978 incident was indeed, KAL 902 and not 007. Two of the main air crash sites said it was 007, so I went with that.

But is there a perfectly good B707 sitting at the bottom of some bloodly lake in Russia? Even up near Murmansk, I hear that the ice starts breaking up in late April or early May. That didn't give the Ruskies much time to get it off the ice.

This incident must have really dropped off the history timeline, because when 007 was downed, I never heard any mention that this was the second time the Russians had downed a Korean airliner.

LatviaCalling
15th Apr 2001, 00:15
There now emerges some ComSymp learned opinions on various web sites that KAL 902, just like KAL 007, was packed to the hilt with CIA, NSA, DIA, (and any other initials you can think of) electronic gear to test Soviet early warning reaction.

These theoreticians maintain that this dastardly deed was carried out because the Ruskies would be reluctant to fire on a plane loaded with civillian passengers.

Well, in my humble opinion, if this really WAS true in 1978 when they shot down the 707, all those people with the three letter initals would have known that and what to expect when 007 crossed the Sakhalin Islands.

Again, in my humble opinion, there were plenty of other planes for that kind of exercise. As far as I can remember, the U.S. still flew the SR-71s over Soviet territory and the EP-3s were also dancing just offshore.

Let China be a reminder. I bet that soon there will be so-called "learned" articles from the God knows where, saying that the U.S. EP-3 crew were under orders to collide with the Chinese interceptor because on the emergency approach to Hainan island they could get that one piece of information they needed about the secret ray gun in the mountain.

Good morning, Tom Clancy.

innuendo
15th Apr 2001, 00:42
Dunhovrin,
there is a web site that gives great circle tracks and distances at
http://www.chicago.com/airliners/gc.html
It is also interesting for ETOPS areas.

Mycroft
15th Apr 2001, 00:59
A book I have (mainly dealing with hijackings) states there was no INS, the crew relying on celestial nav and may have had radio probs as the fighters (Su-15)flew alongside for 10 mins before attacking (they had been ordered to destroy the B707 but limited their action to a force down). Thay state the pilot and nav were detained for a week after the pax and other crew were repatriated (after 2 days)
http://aviation-safety.net/database/1978/780420-1.htm - listed as hull loss (written off)

[This message has been edited by Mycroft (edited 14 April 2001).]

LatviaCalling
15th Apr 2001, 01:23
Innuendo,

Thanks for the tracking map, but I don't think this would have worked in 1978. The flight path shown on the map CDG-SEL would have taken them clear across the whole USSR.

I believe SAS was the first airline to cut a deal with the Soviets to overfly their territory to Tokyo. Finnair came later, but in no way was KAL allowed anywhered near, even to spit on Soviet territory.

They've must have plotted a real wide arc and then gotten screwed up in their own INS.

Rollingthunder
15th Apr 2001, 03:30
I doubt the aircraft was recovered. But I'll bet the Soviets stripped every piece of interesting equipment from it before it sank.

Sadly, a sunken, corroding, B707-320 is now worth about a buck. One immersed in cold waters might be worth raising for museum purposes in about 50 years, or not. PPRuNers of 2051 please advise. Time capsule activated.

SKYDRIFTER
15th Apr 2001, 09:20
KAL-007 -

Going from waypoint nine to zero would have resulted in an abrupt 180 degree turn, not a simple straying off course.

The particular route parallelled the Siberian coast, with a noticable screw-up required to get that far off heading.

Being in the HEADING mode makes the most sense. However, flight plan verification techniques should have caught enough of a mistake to warn Western crews. A 'dictator' mentality may have been a major factor.

The issue is still worth exploring, as many questions are still unanswered.

innuendo
15th Apr 2001, 10:07
Hello Latvia,
I guess I had the KAL007 ANC-SEL routing in mind when I posted the great circle web site in response to Dunhoverin.
I'm sure the subject has been thoroughly gone over but if KAL 007 had ended up where they did, when shot down, by being in heading select, you would think that SOMEONE might have noticed a crosstrack or way point error at some waypoint check or routine position report. Surely the flight plan was not ANC direct SEL. That must be a matter of record. Has there ever been a rational explanation of their position and routing?
Dunhoverin is correct, the great circle track ANC-SEL goes over Kamchatka and The Sea of Okhostk. To get there in heading requires a disregard for most airline enroute procedures.

ATC Watcher
15th Apr 2001, 12:12
1978 KAL 707, If my memory serves me well they had a navigator (astro) on board so that will rule out INS, a very rare and extremely expensive piece of kit in those days .

In the KAL007, the Nav left on Heading mode is indeed the official theory, confirmed apparently by the data from the FDR recovered by the Rusian Navy and handed over in 1990 by Russia. Problem is still that, to my knowledge, no independant body has ever seen the FDR data....
The only ones that could shed a bit of light to that episode would be some retired US military from Shemya and/or Wakkanai ATC. because what is not so advertised is the fact that the whole flight and the interceptions (there were 2 of them, one that failed, one that unfortunately succeeeded with the consequences we know) were tracked (and recorded) on radar, as were the R/T communications. Why no-one bother to initiate a call to the KAL crew , either via 121,5 directly or via Tokyo ACC remains an interesting question.
Does anyone among the PPRuNe readership knows someone who can shed light into that last question ?

SKYDRIFTER
15th Apr 2001, 19:39
HOST OF QUESTIONS -

There is no end as to the questions. For example, why didn't the U.S. DEW Line radar initiate an exchange of inquiries? It was common enough for the Russians to successsfully penetrate the Alaskan ADIZ, then sneak off like an airliner. Thus, the approach to the Russian coastline should have gotten somebody's attention. Such aircraft as 007 were constantly tracked.

If the U.S. side had been conducting operations in the same time frame, the aircraft operating area would have been closely monitored for interceptors. The list of questions goes on.

While the details of the actual cockpit operations are unknown, there are certain common sense items which defy explanation. For example, the region would have no weather to worry about, thus ground mapping on the radar should have been the norm.

The time deviations on the position reporting might not necessarily have been questioned. I've flown that route & encountered winds which threw off estimates very badly. Yet, we were keenly aware of the higher winds, that something was wrong in our flight plan & made it a point to start asking questions. Thus we learned that the winds were validly the problem.

Still, a single aircraft being that far off on their crossing times should have attracted attention. The Japanese are awfully intolerant of that.

KAL 007 also had to relay their position reports. Not uncommon, but the total set of abnormal events should have gotten more attention.

KAL 015, about 20 minutes behind should have gotten attention, as it was clearly overtaking KAL 007, IF, 007 had been on the assigned route. KAL 015 was 'redlining,' trying to make up some lost time, thus the obvious overtaking should have gotten attention.

With regard to such events being viewed in light of bizarre intercepts, it is worth re-visiting the Pueblo incident with the North Koreans grabbing one of our intelligence ships in international waters. - Another story, altogether, but with similarities.

CHUUK
15th Apr 2001, 19:57
"... thanks for the tracking map, but I don't think this would have worked in 1978. The flight path shown on the map CDG-SEL would have taken them clear across the whole USSR... "

I believe the flights of that day (Europe- East Asia) used to route through ANC before continuing to Japan, Korea, etc. Try this on the GC tracking map and it makes a little more sense.

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Preez mind dah pratform gahp.

dv8
16th Apr 2001, 00:14
This KAL 902 incident is very similar to the Libyan Arab Airlines B727-200 shot down by fighters over Sinai. En route Benghazi to Ciaro in the early 70's after staying off course during the APP. to CAI.
Another air tragedy unsolved.

scanscanscan
16th Apr 2001, 14:31
I recall Kal 902 was a DC10 equipment route and due the DC10 being unavailable (WHY?) it was replaced by a 707 which required a navigator. The company having terminated all its navigators as the DC10 made them redundent was forced to dig out its head of navigation from an office in Korea and immediately dispatched him to immediately operate, tarmac transfer on arrival at CDG. (sound familiar?). The 707 is now GO status but "Hey guys WE forgot the damn navigator!!)
Tired and fatigued and with no rest ex Korea he made the basic errors as well described by the DCDriver post.
Regarding the Kal 007, I recall the departure Sid being runway heading and the required departure track being within a couple of degrees. The crew party verdict was, the crew selected heading on the autopilot modes but failed to select L/nav the winds caused the drift into sensitive airspace and no communications caused it to be shot down.
Cockpit procedures were reported as lax,with no augmented crew or rest bunks.In thoes days/nights Kal crews slept or played cards enroute as SOP.
Third world airline accountants require more than one insurance claim to adopt CRM (crash resource management) and this starts with a well payed and experianced captain backed by the company ops management regarding his decisions on the safe conduct of the flight.
Please correct me if I am wrong but this is how I recall reported events via my flight safety officer and crew party investigations then.

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We will do the drill according to the amendments to the amendments I er think?

RTO-5
17th Apr 2001, 10:43
LatviaCalling....I know its been a few days but re the 1983 KAL007 incident..I use to fly russian helicopters around the place so I seem to know a few people who know a 'bit' about the incident...but in relation to the wreckage it is interesting to note that alot of the aircraft wreckage , in small and large portions, washed up years later on u/Shakallin island. Strange things then occurred....the russians ignored it!! Yes, they actually would walk over pieces then touch them. An american A&P by the name of Frank Hearney attended the scene looked at it in company of an Air Force General (russian) and went away. About a year later bulldozers pushed it into a dump specially created 100 mtrs away. Now and then some wreckage still washes up on Yushno-Sakhalinskiy beach..
Hope this helps.

LatviaCalling
17th Apr 2001, 18:34
ATC Watcher,

I remember that in the KAL 007 shoot-down in 1983, there was a big flap raised that the Russian interceptor pilots' radios were purposely installed without any international frequencies.

That ostensibly was so that it would make it harder for them to defect, because they could not contact any ATC or airport to get landing clearance.

This would have also made it impossible for them to talk to the aircraft.

Paterbrat
20th Apr 2001, 12:41
With appologies to LatviaCalling for straying from KAL shootdown.
DV8 the LAA 727 was no mystry It had an Air France Capt and Libyan F/O. enroute to HECA had ferocious tail winds from the winter jetstream. Most navaids were out and a big dust storm in Cairo area. They overshot and flew into Israeli territory. Unfortunately for them Palastinians had declared that they would hi-jack a plane and suicide attack the nuclear reactor. 727 intercepted, Capt saw the markings deduced what he had done turned and made a run for it. Sadly had turned towards reactor. Fighters tried firing warning shots then aimed for wing. Co-pilot survived the crash not many others though. Was in Benghazi at the time and knew some of the cabin crew.

Roadtrip
21st Apr 2001, 07:57
I understand now that the CHICOMS now claim that 007 was downed by a EP-3 that performed a 5g bat-turn at FL390 into the path of the 747.

OVERTALK
9th Jun 2001, 23:40
Anchorage AP 61 10' N 150 1' W

I was told (at the time) by a SPECN friend of mine that if the KAL007 triple INS had been erroneously initialised on the ground at Anchorage with 150 1' E, then the transport error would have put them right over Sakhalin island. Because they took off essentially on heading and their last outbound tracking aid was a VOR almost on track, there was little but ground mapping with their radar to thereafter disclose such an error.

I was more or less convinced about this being a possibility when I met and spoke with the QANTAS captain of their first 767 delivery flight. He did something similar ex NADI and didn't wake up until almost landfall at the Sydney end.

michael744
10th Jun 2001, 08:49
The KAL 707 that was shot down in 1978 was navigating using the Doppler/Loran system. It had 9 waypoints and if it was not programmed prior to the end of the ninth waypoint it returned to the first waypoint which would have been Paris. Whether the pilots were sleeping or just unaware has never been determined to my knowledge.

JJflyer
10th Jun 2001, 15:29
There is a relatively good no nonsense movie about KAL007. Was not really coloured with any conspiracy theories and Actually very well made.

I remeber seeing pictures in newspapers in Finland with the KAL 707 sitting on an icy lake. As far as I know only warning shots where fired with a cannon (23mm) and shot that penetrated fuselage killing 2 PAX was an air to air heatseeking miisile that failed to detonate.
I have been trying to find some pics on this incident but have not.

Also there was an Iran Air A300 that was shot down by US Navy over the Hormuz straights in the Persian Gulf.

JJ

Notso Fantastic
10th Jun 2001, 17:16
Overtalk, that should not happen. If you try and initialise INS sets with the wrong position, the computer should recognise that it is nowhere near where it shut down and give a warning. I understand a more likely explanation is that the aircraft was flown on autopilot Heading mode southwest to the coast of Alaska. If the crew forgot to switch the autopilot to INS mode at some stage and continued blithely unaware that the INS was not in control but Heading still was, then that would account for the subsequent track. Hands up any Classic pilot who hasn't done this!

SKYDRIFTER
10th Jun 2001, 18:28
Overtalk -

All three INS units would have given a warning on the coordinates being wrong.That would have generated the obvious questions.

What's important is that the en route position reporting should have been far enough off to get serious questions going. No pilot in that airspace believes that theres an innocent margin for error.

If there were legitimate mistakes made, there should have been enough questions asked to prevent the incident; or to get a trail of questions generated to ATC for clarification.

As with many U.S. incidents, the unanswered questions have a way of getting compelling.

If current airline investigating is any indicator, the answer is in the arena of "Politically Correct/Convenient." Facts, logic and reasoning are exclusively PR annoyances.

Remember that Reagan did get his desired mileage against the Russians.

Given the TWA-800 cover-up, KAL-007 isn't that difficult, as there is relatively little evidence. As with TWA-800, you can only say, "What? That doesn't make sense. What the hell really happened?"

Dr Jekyll
10th Jun 2001, 21:50
Does the Soviet shooting down of a Korean aircraft really constitute a US incident?

JJflyer
10th Jun 2001, 23:38
On Delco Carousel IV warning is only given when initializing the unit and only when there is a large (Might have been 1 or 2nm) difference in the position where unit was last turned off and started again.

If the airplane was turned off on the west side of LAX and then towed to Eastside and started again there would be a red warning lamp on. This is easy to get rid of though either by resetting the unit or shutting it down and then starting it again.

There is absolutely no warning should pilot make a typo while entering the lat-longs. Additionally this unit only takes 9 waypoints at any given time while 0 is present position on initialization.

So on a flight where you have 100 waypoints you will re-enter waypoints more than you would like to and during long nights I can tell you that it takes 2 to tango. One reads and other enters while entry is X-checked.

JJ

Notso Fantastic
11th Jun 2001, 00:13
Skydrifter, I do not believe there is a great mystery. On the Carousel INS, if you haven't switched the autopilot from Heading control to INS track control, then unless you carefully check at some stage, you will not realise that you may be diverging from intended track, and there will be no obvious warnings of your error. Abeam each waypoint, you will still switch over automatically to the next waypoint- you just will be maintaining the same magnetic heading constantly. True, the ETA's might tell you peculiar things, but it is not an obvious error. A tired crew, long night, easily done, and a poor crew would not notice.....Flight Time Limitations have their purpose!

Blacksheep
11th Jun 2001, 17:00
Paterbrat,

I didn't realise that the Israelis had built a nuclear reactor in the Sinai desert in occupied Egyptian territory? As I recall they DID have a VOR located about 250 miles into Israeli occupied territory that happened to have the same frequency as another beacon near Cairo. So, with a ferocious tail wind and a dust storm over Cairo it is entirely possible that the airliner flew off course and ended up over an occupied part of Egypt. Hardly justification for murdering the occupants of a civil airliner though is it? Airliners use normal ATC frequencies that are shown in great detail on all the charts. I know the military use their own charts and frequencies but wouldn't it be a good idea to try an identity check on the likely ATC frequencies before opening fire on an airliner? Generally, B7x7s with combat capability only exist in the movies.

The USA had an Aegis missile cruiser(?) in the Gulf. It "mistook" an Iranian Airbus flying a regular (daily) scheduled flight on an airway at 33,000 feet for an Iranian Mig making an attack. They then shot it down without bothering to call on the airways frequency to do an identity check. Now those Aegis ships are supposed to be state of the art whizbang marvels of technology. They are designed to protect a Carrier group from air attack. If they can't differentiate between an A300 on a daily scheduled flight and a Military attack then God help us all!

There's just too much of this shoot'em up attitude. Maybe the military should be banned from watching excessively violent TV programmes?

**********************************
Through difficulties to the cinema

LatviaCalling
12th Jun 2001, 01:54
From the time of my initial posting on this subject in April 2001 until now, I've received a number of private replies, including one from the PanAm 727 rescue captain that flew to Leningrad-Murmansk-Helsinki to get the surviving passengers, the wounded and the two dead out of Russia.

Also, subsequently from my inital postings, the flight was KAL 902.

It is interesting how things come back to haunt you. This incident happened more than 20 years ago and I was on the ground as a foreign correspondent in Leningrad when the PA 727 came in to load up with first aid kits, water and the diplomats, Americans and Japanese, to do the negotiations, because at that time South Korea was not recognized by the USSR.

This very kind PA captain, now retired, gave me the whole story on the strange goings on during the flight to Murmansk with a Russian navigator (had to have one in those days) and I'm sure he didn't announce to Murmansk ATC that "Clipper 123 requests..." They wouldn't know what PanAm meant, much less what "Clipper" stood for.

Anyway, how the KAL aircraft ended up there in the north of Russia and why, is still not known. That they were forced down on a frozen lake is known. What happened to the B707 is not known, but as I posted before, with only a few bullet holes it could have been flown out again.

brain fade
14th Jun 2001, 01:46
just a few observations re these shootdowns.
1. Airliner shootdowns are thankfully rare. How come KAL have managed to get involved twice?
2. Why didn't the RIVET JOINT a/c, ie RC-135 in the area warn the KAL007? they certainly could have.
3. In the west we rarely hear or read a mention of the Airbus that the Americans shot down over the gulf. just compare the amount of coverage on this subject with for instance the Lockerbie incident. Surely both are of similar importance if viewed objectively?