Tobias2702
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Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:03 pm

Dear all, I have just read this comment in the thread about MH 17:

Quoting reltney (Reply 110):
PAN AM 727 was brought down just outside the corridor enroute to Berlin in the late 60s.

which was followed by

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Reply 156):

Was it for sure brought down?

Sure, on November 15, 1966, N317PA crashed in East Germany during a flight through the allied air corridor into TXL, but I cannot find any confirmation that the it was shot down. Here is the official report:
http://www.airdisaster.com/reports/ntsb/AAR68-AH.pdf

It is to note, though, that the Soviets removed vital parts from the wreckage (flight data recorder, flight control system etc.), but it seems more likely that they were interested in the (then) state-of-the-art electronic components of a Boeing 727.

Maybe the shoot-down part was mixed up with the fate of a French aircraft which was taken under aerial fire by Soviet Migs in 1952, also in the Berlin air corridor?

[Edited 2014-07-18 08:08:24]
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Braniff747SP
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:15 pm

Well, the cause of Flight 708's crash was never determined--I believe that many assumed that it was shot down as it was flying off its normal route.
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727LOVER
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:24 pm

I did a thread on this back in 2002:
Did Pan Am Lose A 727 In Germany? (by 727LOVER May 5 2002 in Civil Aviation)

Lots of info there.
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MEA-707
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:24 pm

I believe the description on Aviation Safety.net more which you left out of your original quote.
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19661115-0
A typical missed approach accident which happened more often at that time.
Of course the Soviets liked the rare opportunity to check western technology for them in form of the wreckage and parts.
But they wouldn't be that crazy to shoot down a US airplane in Berlin, especially if there was a chance that there were 130 passengers on board.

[Edited 2014-07-18 08:25:49]
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N202PA
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:29 pm

If it was a simple accident, why did the Soviets refuse to return the critical components of the wreckage (including the FDR, CVR and instruments)? Seems like this would have been expected if they had nothing to hide...
 
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:33 pm

Quoting N202PA (Reply 4):
Seems like this would have been expected if they had nothing to hide...

Um....you realize you are talking about the same people that shot down 2 KE flights.
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ua900
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:12 pm

Quoting Tobias2702 (Thread starter):
Dear all, I have just read this comment in the thread about MH 17:
Quoting Tobias2702 (Thread starter):

It is to note, though, that the Soviets removed vital parts from the wreckage (flight data recorder, flight control system etc.), but it seems more likely that they were interested in the (then) state-of-the-art electronic components of a Boeing 727.
Quoting 727LOVER (Reply 5):
Um....you realize you are talking about the same people that shot down 2 KE flights.

Let's hope they not currently interested in are state-of-the-art electronic components of a Boeing 777. Ironic since all they'd have to do go to SVO and inspect a SU 773 these days.

The Russians have proven time and time again that they are capable of defending their airspace (and the airspace of their satellites/clients) from commercial airliners. 1966, 1978, 1983 and 2014 are all good examples of that.

Quoting N202PA (Reply 4):
If it was a simple accident, why did the Soviets refuse to return the critical components of the wreckage (including the FDR, CVR and instruments)?

Their accidents are always simple. A simple villager who is unaccustomed to fancy things like indoor pluming, running water or proper training is given a large caliber weapon and is told to point and shoot. After 2 hours of "training", they are unleashed upon less fortunate souls.

When they find themselves out in the field and decide not to shoot the consequences for them personally (interrogation, bodily harm, prison) are far more grave than if they fire and hit someone or something they were not supposed to hit.
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:48 pm

A friend of my parents (on the way to visit us in West Berlin) was on a Pan Am flight to West Berlin in the late 1970s, which had to take violent evasive action due to having been buzzed by Soviet / East German fighters in the air corridor.

Jan
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PanHAM
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:51 pm

I don't think i was shot down. As mentioned in the reports, PA used TXL since THF was closed for maintenance. PA Crews were used to THF and not so familiar with the TXL approaches which may have contributed to the accident.

If the Soviets or their puppy GDR had shot down the aircraft there would have been a different reaction. it was col war times and hot in 'Nam and Johnson was no pussy cat.
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bennett123
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:07 pm

Historically, accidents frequently happen at night or in poor weather.

In this case, both apply.

www.aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19661115-0

Also, iirc, the accident record for the B727 was not good in the early years.

I think it was due to differences in handling and complexity with earlier aircraft.
 
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:25 pm

The report says where the B727 crashed, but not the height above sea level.

Given the low overcast and snow, this information would be useful.

Also the Captain had under 60 hours on the B727. The FO had 412 hours, but was assessed as "unsatisfactory" on his Type rating.

It seems that the most likely explanation is that the crew were "average" but no more, flying in less than ideal weather, in a plane with characteristics which were different from the types they flew before.

The Captain's limited experience on type could not have helped.

The report is rather brief, not sure if that was normal at the time.
 
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ua900
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:51 pm

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 10):
The report says where the B727 crashed, but not the height above sea level.

approx. 37 m (121 ft)
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:16 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 7):
A friend of my parents (on the way to visit us in West Berlin) was on a Pan Am flight to West Berlin in the late 1970s, which had to take violent evasive action due to having been buzzed by Soviet / East German fighters in the air corridor.

Jan

There was a PA captain, Bill Nash, who wrote about his similar experiences in Airways Magazine.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 8):
If the Soviets or their puppy GDR had shot down the aircraft there would have been a different reaction.

which may be why they never returned all the aircraft parts. They didn't want the Americans to know what actually happened.

Quoting Tobias2702 (Thread starter):
but it seems more likely that they were interested in the (then) state-of-the-art electronic components of a Boeing 727.

I would imagine they would have had a better way to get a hold of such information. There were and are plenty of communists in the USA that would have loved to hand over the info. They also probably had agents working for a variety of US airlines and at Boeing.
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ua900
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:11 am

Quoting falstaff (Reply 12):
which may be why they never returned all the aircraft parts. They didn't want the Americans to know what actually happened.

Hate to partially defend them, but the plane happened to go down over a Soviet military base that was also used as a test range / firing range. Back in those days Soviet military areas were off limits to pretty much anyone and frequently featured high security areas, a mini-base within a base within a base, three layers of security.

Judging by the sorry state in which these types of places were returned to Germany for ammo and junk cleanup when the Russians withdrew, it could have easily been the case that there was too much debris / leftover metallic junk in the area to reliably filter out more 727 parts. Pretty sure the parts like the flight data recorder / flight control system disappeared on purpose though  
Quoting falstaff (Reply 12):
I would imagine they would have had a better way to get a hold of such information. There were and are plenty of communists in the USA that would have loved to hand over the info. They also probably had agents working for a variety of US airlines and at Boeing.

Easier to take a field trip to say JU at BEG even though they weren't really allies. Still better than trying to inspect once up close at FRA.
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:42 am

It has always been rumored that the Soviets found the FDR and CVR of KE007 and have kept it hidden since 1983. They have neither acknowledged nor denied the reports.

We had the tapes of the fighter pilots reporting that "the target has been destroyed" and IIRC he even acknowledged prior to shooting that it was an airliner with all of its exterior lights on and functioning and was ordered to shoot anyway.

What a sad world we live in.
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802flyguy
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:28 am

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 14):
It has always been rumored that the Soviets found the FDR and CVR of KE007 and have kept it hidden since 1983. They have neither acknowledged nor denied the reports.

The Soviets did indeed have both. The information was released by President Yeltsin in 1992 . Wiki has a good article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_...007#Revised_ICAO_report_.281993.29


Also a good recap here:
http://www.newsweek.com/newsweek-rew...es-flight-007-was-shot-down-259653
 
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:17 am

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 14):

It has always been rumored that the Soviets found the FDR and CVR of KE007 and have kept it hidden since 1983. They have neither acknowledged nor denied the reports.

They did have the recorders. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KAL_007
 
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:58 pm

I remember reading about this crash some time ago. There's no way to ever be sure about what happened but all the evidence that does exist tends to point to CFIT in low visibility. It is true the Soviets and their clients were very aggressive about defending their airspace and Berlin was quite the flash point back then. Feels awkard to defend some East German or Soviet commander but they would have risked the gulag without orders from high up the chain of command to take that kind of action. Remember KE 007 got through a lot of Soviet airspace before the shoot down confirmation came down. In those days it was much easier for us to intercept that kind of order too. For example we always knew when to have spy planes watching for missile tests from just offshore because we'd routinely intercept orders preparing for them. This was dramatized in one of the 007 shoot down films as someone in Moscow had to get on the radio and say, "Ivan push the button" first. Probably a vast oversimplification but the Soviets were at a disadvantage in sophisticated encryption technology for any form of communication.
 
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:09 pm

Quoting 727LOVER (Reply 5):
Um....you realize you are talking about the same people that shot down 2 KE flights.
Quoting skywaymanaz (Reply 17):
Remember KE 007 got through a lot of Soviet airspace before the shoot down confirmation came down.

Photo recon mission?

Quoting skywaymanaz (Reply 17):
It is true the Soviets and their clients were very aggressive about defending their airspace

As is their right. Back in the day quite a few aircraft were shot down because they were perceived as a threat. Some, however, were shot down for the hell of it.

Quoting ua900 (Reply 6):
A simple villager who is unaccustomed to fancy things like indoor pluming, running water or proper training is given a large caliber weapon and is told to point and shoot. After 2 hours of "training", they are unleashed upon less fortunate souls.

Yes. I think that is correct.
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falstaff
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RE: Was A Pan Am 727 Shot Down In East Germany In '66?

Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:47 pm

Quoting ua900 (Reply 13):
Judging by the sorry state in which these types of places were returned to Germany for ammo and junk cleanup when the Russians withdrew, it could have easily been the case that there was too much debris / leftover metallic junk in the area to reliably filter out more 727 parts

I saw the remains of a Soviet base in that area in 2008. There was lots of old junk laying around.
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