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Soviet downing of KAL 007 in 1978!

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Soviet downing of KAL 007 in 1978!

Old 13th Apr 2001, 02:39
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LatviaCalling
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Question Soviet downing of KAL 007 in 1978!

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?
 
Old 13th Apr 2001, 03:07
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Offchocks
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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.


 
Old 13th Apr 2001, 03:17
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LatviaCalling
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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.
 
Old 13th Apr 2001, 03:43
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Rollingthunder
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I think the flight in 1978 was KAL902.

Did a quick search on the net but didn't come up with much of substance.
 
Old 13th Apr 2001, 05:42
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G.Khan
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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!!!
 
Old 13th Apr 2001, 11:04
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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!)

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Old 13th Apr 2001, 16:19
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Jim lovell
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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???
 
Old 13th Apr 2001, 18:06
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18Wheeler
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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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Old 14th Apr 2001, 03:17
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18Wheeler
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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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Old 14th Apr 2001, 03:49
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LatviaCalling
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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.
 
Old 14th Apr 2001, 07:06
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18Wheeler
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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.
 
Old 14th Apr 2001, 10:04
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Wino
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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
 
Old 14th Apr 2001, 14:15
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Notso Fantastic
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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?
 
Old 14th Apr 2001, 16:03
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Dunhovrin
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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.
 
Old 14th Apr 2001, 16:53
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Gateway
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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.
 
Old 14th Apr 2001, 18:10
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LatviaCalling
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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.

 
Old 14th Apr 2001, 22:42
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DCDriver
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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
 
Old 14th Apr 2001, 22:49
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LatviaCalling
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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.
 
Old 14th Apr 2001, 23:15
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LatviaCalling
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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.


 
Old 14th Apr 2001, 23:42
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innuendo
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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.
 

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