I was hoping to post a reply on this subject to the following post:
Varig PP-VLU (B707 Cargo) Still Missing Since 1979 (by VarigB707 Sep 8 2006 in Civil Aviation)
That thread is archived so I can’t reply. I found it after googling the flight number after my father told me a story one day driving in the car.
I joined this forum just to post this message. I wanted to have my father’s story placed onto the internet for the sake of hopefully the truth coming out about what happened to PP
To recap the summary of this flight:
-VLU was the registration of a Varig cargo Boeing 707-323C which took off on 30 January 1979 from Tokyo - Narita to Rio de Janeiro-Galeão via Los Angeles. After an exhibition in Tokyo, 153 of Manabu Mabe's paintings were on board the aircraft. The aircraft went missing over the Pacific Ocean some 30 minutes (200 km ENE) from Tokyo. Causes are unknown since the wreck was never found. The paintings were lost.”
My father’s story is credible in my opinion because of the circumstances of his position in 1979. My father worked for Varig cargo in Los Angeles for decades, from 1971 to the late nineties, PP
-VLU was a cargo plane scheduled to fly through Los Angeles on route to Rio De Janeiro during the time he worked there.
My father’s story goes as follows.
Prior to the incident my father recalls reading a story in the papers that a Russian MIG pilot landed in Japan to defect.
Stanislav Levchenko KGB Russia 1979 Defected during a mission in Tokyo, Japan ; detailed KGB's Japanese spy network
As a side note my father said, the Russians standard operating procedure would be to give their pilots only enough fuel to do their run, and not enough to land in Japan.
When this pilot defected after landing in Tokyo, the Russians flipped out because the MiG was a latest model. They didn’t care about the pilot, but wanted the MiG back. Russia put pressure on Japan to give it back, but the US wanted it.
The US put the MiG into a hanger and disassembled it and decided to use a 3rd party foreign cargo carrier, rather than a Japanese cargo carrier or US military aircraft because they didn’t want to risk having the Russians to shoot down a Japanese plane (US Ally) or US military plane and start a greater incident.
Standard operating procedure when a plane leaves Toyko it has to check in at regular intervals. The reason it does that the maintenance, cargo and dispatcher groups have to know when to be ready to deal with the plane when it lands. When the dispatcher didn’t call cargo, that was the first sign something was wrong. They won’t report a plane as missing until they estimate it has run out of fuel.
When a plane has mechanical issues prior to crashing there are signs that alert the pilots and the pilots can radio in to alert the tower that something is wrong. There were no reports, the plane just disappeared.
No wreckage was ever found and he believes it was designed that way so that the risk of someone finding out the MiG was onboard was eliminated.
My father’s was told by Varig management if customers call about their cargo going missing to not say anything about the status of the plane.
Years later, when my father was in Brazil for training he asked a manager about what happened to RG967 and he was told it was shot down, but that information was confidential.
The other source was a manager in Los Angeles, this manager got in trouble with the company and my father was a friend with him. He also confirmed it was shot down.
He also stated that he found out that at the Narita airport in Tokyo, the Varig cargo manager went nutz and was institutionalized and the assistant manager committed suicide.
My father is not one for tall tales, so take it for what it’s worth. The reason I am posting this is for the families of the crew that died. I don’t know if it’s’ true, but if it is, hopefully the truth will come out someday and help them.
[Edited 2013-05-01 20:12:32]