Jan 14th, 2020

Ukrainian Jet Downed: The First Clue

Posted in Aviation News

The Ukrainian jet downed last week has captured worldwide acclaim.  It was shot down, but did you catch the clue before the video was released?

I must give credit for this blog to my aviation colleague, Jay Ratliff.  I am a regular listener to Jay on 700 WLW in the morning at 6:25am.  Jay was the first to break the story, in my hearing, of the Ukrainian airliner crashing in Iran. 


Normally my first thought is either: 1) pilot error or 2) maintenance problem.  The Iranian government issued a statement within two hours that a mechanical problem caused the crash.  That is when the red flag went up and Jay immediately caught it – as would any seasoned aviation person.  It normally takes several weeks before a preliminary report highlights the cause of an accident.  The full report generally takes up to a year.  NEVER is a cause identified within two hours.

Jay shared the suspicious announcement with his audience.  “Uh oh”, was my thought, and his.  Somebody has something to hide.  Two days later the videos started coming out.  What looks like a firework in the night sky over Iran results in an aircraft crashing 24 seconds later. 

More Shock…

In another shocking turn of events, Iran has actually acknowledged responsibility.  They tried to deflect at first by saying that the aircraft was heading toward a sensitive military area.  Tracking quickly foiled that fallacy.  Then they simply admitted, yes we shot the aircraft down.  I was shocked.

KAL 007

My mind went back to 1983 when the then Soviet Union had a Su-15 shoot down KAL Flight 007.  The Soviets hemmed and hawed and denied any responsibility for months.  That is why the Iranian confession was so shocking.  Confession of responsibility is not their MO.

For a video of the crash site see Jay’s blog and for a video of the missile I direct you to another of Jay’s blogs.

There are areas around the world marked out as restricted airspace where commercial air travel is not allowed.  I suspect that area will be growing larger in the dark country of Iran.

Note: The Ukrainian jet was a 737-800, not the grounded 737 Max.  Aircraft make and model does not matter when it comes to a surface to air missile. 

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