PDA

View Full Version : KAL Flight 007



101Airborne
04-24-2009, 01:36 AM
After doing some research for school on the USSR, I came across this incident which I am surprised to say that I'd never heard of before. I ran through the basic idea of the situation, but what gets me is the fact that if at any point during the Cold War we would have actually gotten into an active war with the Soviet Union, this would have been it (Other than Cuba in 62'). Among the casualties of the flight were citizens of the US, including a congressman, and citizens of NATO allies. I'm not saying that I wanted a war to happen, but the fact that one didn't happen is what confuses me more. It seems that there is still an argument about the fine details of the case, yet it luckily ended with Reagan ordering an examination on civilian navigation systems and a condemning of the incident. For those of you here that remember, I'd like to get some personal insight on what happened. There's only so much you can gather from online articles.

Bro Jangles
04-24-2009, 01:55 AM
My dad was onboard USS Callaghan that help the search for the black box. i ask him stories about it all the time.

personally, im glad there wasnt a shooting war there, because odds are good id never have been born.

void
04-24-2009, 01:56 AM
I think the KAL 007 was a horrible mistake/misunderstanding. The back story is in the time before the incident, US planes were trying to gather ELINT info in the area, at times "aggressively" (trying to make it look like they were about to penetrate Soviet airspace in order for the ground radars to light up). Then basically, the KAL flight drifted (according to the Soviets) into their airspace, and would not reply to signals of the interceptors, who then shot it down.

After that incident, the Soviet PVO was VERY skittish, and as a result for example they did not take action against Mathias Rust when he flew his Cessna through Soviet airspace. Supposedly they had a track on him the entire way, but nobody had the guts to give the order to shoot him down.

budgie
04-24-2009, 02:06 AM
I'm not saying that I wanted a war to happen, but the fact that one didn't happen is what confuses me more.

There are all kinds of reasons smaller countries go to war but two nuclear-armed superpowers can hardly go head to head over such a mistake. The Russian radarmen didn't know what they were looking at, communication with the Korean pilots failed, and the pilot who fired the missle used an over-the-horizon radar guided weapon without making visual contact. Collossal screw up but it shouldn't surprise anyone that it didn't start WW III.

Gambit
04-24-2009, 02:10 AM
Reminds me of Iran Air Flight 655, chances are it was part of the political game.

ronnieraygun
04-24-2009, 02:24 AM
Void is probably making some sense here big time, IIRC the Soviets initially claimed the civilian airliner was violating airspace on purpose and spying.

Thanks for the post Budgie.

That was scary but not at all something that would have triggered "WWIII."

The kid in the plane was what, only a few years later?

Some of you might also recall an Iranian civilan airliner that was shot down in the late '80s. Iran said one thing officially, the US said another. The ship involved in that is actually mothballed and was christened by none other than Dan Quayle's wife rofl

I had forgotten about this but as it happens there are apparently many websites out there devoted to the theory that most of 007's passengers survived and are festering in Soviet-***-Russian captivity as we speak (not my words, theirs) Feel free to don your tinfoil.

TR1
04-24-2009, 02:49 AM
Void is probably making some sense here big time, IIRC the Soviets initially claimed the civilian airliner was violating airspace on purpose and spying.

Thanks for the post Budgie.

That was scary but not at all something that would have triggered "WWIII."

The kid in the plane was what, only a few years later?

Some of you might also recall an Iranian civilan airliner that was shot down in the late '80s. Iran said one thing officially, the US said another. The ship involved in that is actually mothballed and was christened by none other than Dan Quayle's wife rofl

I had forgotten about this but as it happens there are apparently many websites out there devoted to the theory that most of 007's passengers survived and are festering in Soviet-***-Russian captivity as we speak (not my words, theirs) Feel free to don your tinfoil.
Another incident of an airliner shootdown, this time by Israel:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libyan_Arab_Airlines_Flight_114

G-AWZT
04-24-2009, 03:20 AM
KAL 007 was an error made by everyone that night. Capt Chun or one of the other two flight crew should've recognized the nav error. The crew failed to switch the autopilot knob from "Heading" to INS mode after takeoff which is what made the aircraft go off course.
No radar installation could tell him he was off course because he was out of radar range.
The Soviets were jittery and didn't want the plane which had already overflown Kamchatka unchallenged to get away with doing the same over Sakhalin. A decision had to be made quick whether to let it continue into int'l airspace or down it over Soviet space. They fired and the 747 took 12 minutes to descend and crash ultimately in int'l waters not far from Moron island.
Interestingly enough the late summer and fall of '83 was very chilly for relations between the US/USSR what with KAL 007/The Day After Movie/Able Archer NATO excercise in November '83 which scared the proverbial doo doo out of the Soviets.

ronnieraygun
04-24-2009, 03:26 AM
not far from Moron island.
Interestingly enough the late summer and fall of '83 was very chilly for relations between the US/USSR what with KAL 007/The Day After Movie/Able Archer NATO excercise in November '83 which scared the proverbial doo doo out of the Soviets.


Moron island? wtf like the airsoft section?


really though, i had heard there were crazy internal things going on, also. Andropov-Chernenko transition and a power/generational struggle within the leadership framework of the USSR at that time. I think that may have factored in, as well.

G-AWZT
04-24-2009, 03:30 AM
Moron island? wtf like the airsoft section?


really though, i had heard there were crazy internal things going on, also. Andropov-Chernenko transition and a power/generational struggle within the leadership framework of the USSR at that time. I think that may have factored in, as well.


LOL seriously that's the name.

Andropov was undergoing kidney dialysis and sick, Chernienko lasted a few months before he croaked, it was as if the old guard were going one by one.
The Soviets thought Able Archer '83 was the real thing. I've read a few articles on the excercise which really scared some Soviet generals big time.

wilhelm
04-24-2009, 04:52 AM
and the pilot who fired the missle used an over-the-horizon radar guided weapon without making visual contact.

That is incorrect.

Kilgor
04-24-2009, 04:57 AM
. The Russian radarmen didn't know what they were looking at, communication with the Korean pilots failed, and the pilot who fired the missle used an over-the-horizon radar guided weapon without making visual contact.

Visual contact was made, cannon warning shots were "fired"

The flashing white light and numerous passenger windows should have made them think twice.

F16
04-24-2009, 05:18 AM
There are all kinds of reasons smaller countries go to war but two nuclear-armed superpowers can hardly go head to head over such a mistake. The Russian radarmen didn't know what they were looking at, communication with the Korean pilots failed, and the pilot who fired the missle used an over-the-horizon radar guided weapon without making visual contact. Collossal screw up but it shouldn't surprise anyone that it didn't start WW III.
As far as I know, the Soviet's fighter pilot shot at least 300 tracer rounds from his board canon before the airliner's cockpit to make the KAL 007 pilot to understand what's going happen next if he doesn't obey.
So as far as I was told, there was a visual contact, KAL 007 pilot saw all the tracer rounds fired as last warning, but didn't react, and sustained the course deeper into the Soviet airspace, rumour is that he was somehow dragged by the CIA, and so on, only after that the soviet fighter pilot received the order to down the KAL 007. He executed the order with the second rocket fired, the first rocket he fired missed the plane somehow.
Anyway, RIP to crew and passengers!

Daedalus
04-24-2009, 05:18 AM
Warning shots but no tracers. So they couldn't be seen. Not to forget at that time sanctions in USSR were potentially very severe. And the region was full of military installations.

EDIT: my acig.org sources differ from F16 ones apparently.

F16
04-24-2009, 05:39 AM
Warning shots but no tracers. So they couldn't be seen.
Such cases are very common and are long ago regulated by the international law. All the warning shots must be clear visible for the intruder, no matter is it in airspace, or sea. So, the law requires to shot exactly the tracer round as a last warning because they are the only rounds that can by visually traced by the intruder.
You can see how it is going in the sea, chinese cargo ship didn't obey, Russian Navy destroyer fires clear visible flares as a warning, the chinese didn't get the message, and they were sunk. Everything according to the law.
http://video.novostivl.ru/video/view/?id=u97870650ba

*zeven*
04-24-2009, 07:32 AM
I'm not saying that I wanted a war to happen, but the fact that one didn't happen is what confuses me more.

Why does it confuse you?

you believe two super nuclear powers would start WWIII because of something like this? a missunderstanding/violation of SU airspace?

it does not make any sense.

PS
R.I.P to the fallen passengers and crew

MZKT
04-24-2009, 08:58 AM
Visual contact was made, cannon warning shots were "fired"

The flashing white light and numerous passenger windows should have made them think twice.

During the night most passenger pull down window flaps. The pilot claimed to have identified nothign more but a "4-engine jet" which could have been the EC-135, monitoring Kamchatkas proving grounds either.

BearInBunnySuit
04-24-2009, 01:17 PM
The Soviets were jittery and didn't want the plane which had already overflown Kamchatka unchallenged to get away with doing the same over Sakhalin. A decision had to be made quick whether to let it continue into int'l airspace or down it over Soviet space. They fired and the 747 took 12 minutes to descend and crash ultimately in int'l waters not far from Moron island.

I believe you are actually refering to Moneron Island.


During the night most passenger pull down window flaps. The pilot claimed to have identified nothign more but a "4-engine jet" which could have been the EC-135, monitoring Kamchatkas proving grounds either.



Ex-Soviet Pilot Still Insists KAL 007 Was Spying

By MICHAEL R. GORDON

Published: Monday, December 9, 1996

Gennadi Osipovich held up his thick hands to show how, 13 years ago, he maneuvered his SU-15 fighter to blast a Korean 747 airliner out of the sky.

It was the morning of Sept. 1, 1983, and Lieut. Col. Gennadi Osipovich's unit had scrambled from its secret base on Sakhalin Island to intercept an intruder. After trailing the unidentified plane for more than 60 miles, the Soviet pilot zoomed alongside to get a look for himself.

''I was just next to him, on the same altitude, 150 meters to 200 meters away,'' he recalled in conversations with a reporter this weekend.
From the flashing lights and the configuration of the windows, he recognized the aircraft as a civilian type of plane, he said.

''I saw two rows of windows and knew that this was a Boeing,'' he said. ''I knew this was a civilian plane. But for me this meant nothing. It is easy to turn a civilian type of plane into one for military use.''

Minutes later, he fired two air-to-air missiles, sending Korean Air Lines Flight 007 crashing into the sea, killing 269 people and causing what President Boris N. Yeltsin has called the greatest tragedy of the cold war.

Thirteen years after the downing of KAL 007, debate still rages over whether the Soviet Air Force showed a reckless disregard for human life and why the Korean plane was so far off course.

In his first interview with an American journalist, the retired pilot addressed some of the mysteries that still surround the incident, although the central question of why the plane -- en route from Anchorage, Alaska, to Seoul, South Korea -- was so far off course is still debated.

A confirmed Communist who lives in the Caucasus region, Colonel Osipovich insists that the jetliner was on a spy mission and that there were no civilian passengers aboard. He even considers himself fortunate to have achieved a measure of celebrity by having destroyed Flight 007.

One of his few complaints is that the Soviet authorities paid him a smaller bonus for shooting down the plane than he had hoped: 200 rubles minus a small fee for postage....

But Colonel Osipovich says he knew he had no doubts that he was dealing with a civilian plane and not an RC-135....

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/09/world/ex-soviet-pilot-still-insists-kal-007-was-spying.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/A/Airlines%20and%20Airplanes


Soviet pilot's recollection of shootdown

In a 1991 interview with Izvestia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izvestia), Major Gennadie Osipovich, pilot of the Su-15 interceptor that shot the Boeing down, spoke about his recollections of the events leading up to the shootdown. He recalled telling ground controllers that, contrary to official Soviet statements at the time, there were blinking lights, which he believed should have alerted them to the fact that the plane was a civilian transport. He also stated that he knew it was a civilian Boeing from the double rows of windows:[30] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Lines_Flight_007#cite_note-33)

"I saw two rows of windows and knew that this was a Boeing. I knew this was a civilian plane. But for me this meant nothing. It is easy to turn a civilian type of plane into one for military use..." Osipovich also stated that, in the pressure of the moment, he did not provide a full description of the intruder to Soviet ground controllers: "I did not tell the ground that it was a Boeing-type plane," he recalled, "They did not ask me."[28] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Lines_Flight_007#cite_note-Illesh-Eng-31)[31] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Lines_Flight_007#cite_note-nytimes-Osipovich-34)

This omission of the identity of KAL 007 as a Boeing by Osipovich is evident in the communications subsequently released by the Russian Federation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Federation) with the combat controller, Lt. Col. Titovnin (see Flight timeline and transcripts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Lines_Flight_007#Flight_timeline_and_transcripts))....

At the time of the attack, the plane had been cruising at an altitude of about 35,000 feet (11,000 m). Tapes recovered from the airliner's cockpit voice recorder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockpit_voice_recorder) indicate that the crew were unaware that they were off course and violating Soviet airspace....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Lines_Flight_007

RIP to the victims.

Tomcat_Rio
04-24-2009, 01:32 PM
During the night most passenger pull down window flaps. The pilot claimed to have identified nothign more but a "4-engine jet" which could have been the EC-135, monitoring Kamchatkas proving grounds either.

Incorrect. Go read Wiki on the incident. "...the Russian Federation released "Transcript of Communications. U.S.S.R. Air Defence Command Centres on Sakhalin Island" transcripts to ICAO...". Maj. Osipovoich was the interceptor pilot flying a Su-15 and his debriefing after he flight was part of this new release by the Russian Federation. He reported to the controllers that the aircraft had navigation and anti-collision lights on. He did NOT report that it was a Boeing 4 engine jet even though he recognized it. FYI, he fired over 200 rounds of ammo from the cannon and the missile fired was an R-98.

*zeven*
04-24-2009, 01:37 PM
Incorrect. Go read Wiki on the incident. "...the Russian Federation released "Transcript of Communications. U.S.S.R. Air Defence Command Centres on Sakhalin Island" transcripts to ICAO...". Maj. Osipovoich was the interceptor pilot flying a Su-15 and his debriefing after he flight was part of this new release by the Russian Federation. He reported to the controllers that the aircraft had navigation and anti-collision lights on. He did NOT report that it was a Boeing 4 engine jet even though he recognized it. FYI, he fired over 200 rounds of ammo from the cannon and the missile fired was an R-98.

Wiki is not the most reliable source on the internet.

101Airborne
04-24-2009, 01:43 PM
Why does it confuse you?

you believe two super nuclear powers would start WWIII because of something like this? a missunderstanding/violation of SU airspace?


I guess you're right. The more I think about it on a global scale, the smaller the incedent seems in proportion to what was happening politically and economically with the two countries. My immediate reaction was just the fact that to my knowledge, this was the first time the Soviets took part in an active engagement of U.S. citizens. But again, global scale.

BearInBunnySuit
04-24-2009, 01:53 PM
Wiki is not the most reliable source on the internet.

That depends. The article on KAL 007 is well sourced and the particular info referred by the poster is based on a transcript from the U.S.S.R. Air Defence Command Centres.


I guess you're right. The more I think about it on a global scale, the smaller the incedent seems in proportion to what was happening politically and economically with the two countries. My immediate reaction was just the fact that to my knowledge, this was the first time the Soviets took part in an active engagement of U.S. citizens. But again, global scale.

I sometimes wonder if there had been no U.S. citizens on that flight, would the U.S. have made as big of a deal of the incident as it had at the time. The majority of the victims on that flight were Koreans, who like their country, were caught up in global events that they really didn't have any control over.

G-AWZT
04-24-2009, 06:02 PM
There were no tracer rounds fired from Osipovich's aircraft. Seeing the muzzle flash would've been difficult as well if the flight crew had an overhead light on in the cockpit or were simply not looking out at the time. A crew will get into a boring routine after sitting for several hours and become a wee bit complacent as anyone would.
Chun and his crew should've spotted their error on the autopilot panel by not turning the knob from "heading" to "INS" mode. Oh well, there have been flight crews who have forgotten to lower the flaps for takeoff in perfect daylight conditions resulting in catastrophic crashes. Mistakes happen.

I can't think of a name
04-25-2009, 02:08 AM
There are all kinds of reasons smaller countries go to war but two nuclear-armed superpowers can hardly go head to head over such a mistake. The Russian radarmen didn't know what they were looking at, communication with the Korean pilots failed, and the pilot who fired the missle used an over-the-horizon radar guided weapon without making visual contact. Collossal screw up but it shouldn't surprise anyone that it didn't start WW III.

Wrong, the SU-15 pilot did have visual contact

budgie
04-25-2009, 02:46 AM
As far as I know, the Soviet's fighter pilot shot at least 300 tracer rounds from his board canon before the airliner's cockpit to make the KAL 007 pilot to understand what's going happen next if he doesn't obey.
So as far as I was told, there was a visual contact, KAL 007 pilot saw all the tracer rounds fired as last warning, but didn't react, and sustained the course deeper into the Soviet airspace, rumour is that he was somehow dragged by the CIA, and so on, only after that the soviet fighter pilot received the order to down the KAL 007. He executed the order with the second rocket fired, the first rocket he fired missed the plane somehow.
Anyway, RIP to crew and passengers!

Yes my mistake - it was the ground controllers who had been confused as bad weather had knocked out some of their radars earlier that week.

PeterG
04-25-2009, 03:41 AM
**** happens. Remember The USS Vincennes, a cruiser equipped with the most sophisticated radar and electronic battle gear in the Navy's surface arsenal, who mistook an airbus airliner for a hostile Iranian F-14 Tomcat and shot it down!

The combination of paranoid soviets, and the fact that the US did violate soviet airspace on numerous occasions with spyplanes, was fatal.

I understand why russians involved still insist the airliner was 'spying' - it must be very hard indeed to come to terms with killing an airliner full of civilians.. Talk about guilt!

Trigger
04-25-2009, 04:23 AM
The combination of paranoid soviets, and the fact that the US did violate soviet airspace on numerous occasions with spyplanes, was fatal.

I understand why russians involved still insist the airliner was 'spying' - it must be very hard indeed to come to terms with killing an airliner full of civilians.. Talk about guilt!

How many of the hundreds of visually identified TU-95s got taken out over Alaska in the 80s?
None. Talk about professionalism!

That Soviet pilot and his statements make me sick.

F16
04-25-2009, 02:41 PM
Yes my mistake - it was the ground controllers who had been confused as bad weather had knocked out some of their radars earlier that week.
Do you know who was the officer responsible for monitoring the soviet air space at that night and who gave the order to down the plane, a difficult decision, but he had to protect soviet people and soviet air border. It's was cold war, but it was a war, plain and simple, nobody know what was flying in the plane. It was General Anatoly Kornukov, at that time he was just a major responsible for that part of airspace, later he became the Chief of RuAF and Air Defense Forces.

upd.
To understand the General, just imagine, a north korean jet airliner has crossed the U.S. air space, is flying deeper into the U.S. airspace, doesn't respond at any messages and orders from tower, U.S. jets firing tracer rounds ahead of his cockpit don't impress the north korean's jet airliner pilot very much, and he is going toward LA, or something like that.
What would you do? Allow him to go on?

Masakari
04-25-2009, 02:50 PM
How many of the hundreds of visually identified TU-95s got taken out over Alaska in the 80s?
None. Talk about professionalism!

That Soviet pilot and his statements make me sick.

Can you please give sources? As far as i know they never entered airspace. Just flew very close to it.