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1 September 1983 - Korean Air 007

The Boeing arrived at Anchorage at 03.30 local time after a flight from New York. At 05.00h the aircraft took off again from runway 32, bound for Seoul. The flight was cleared directly to the Bethel VOR beacon and then on to the Romeo 20 route. However, the aircraft started diverting from it's intended course and passed 12mls North of the Bethel beacon. While approaching the Kamchatka peninsula, 6 MiG-23 fighters were scrambled. Because a US Boeing RC-135 intelligence plane was flying in the area East off Kamchatka, the Soviet defence forces probably thought the B747 radar echo to be the RC-135. KAL 007 left Russian airspace over the Okhostk Sea and the fighters returned to their base. Passing abeam the Nippi beacon (4hrs after take-off), the aircraft was 185mls off course and headed for Sakhalin. Two Soviet Sukhoi Su-15 fighters were scrambled from the Dolinsk-Sokol airbase at 17.42h UTC and 17.54 respectively. At 18.16h UTC flight 007 re-entered Soviet airspace. At 18.22h the Soviet command ordered destruction of the target (for the 2nd time). Two air-to-air missiles were launched by one of the fighters and struck the Boeing at 18.26h. Cabin pressure was lost and the aircraft suffered control problems, causing the Boeing to spiral down and crash into the sea.

The Soviet Union initially denied knowledge of the incident, but later admitted shooting the aircraft down, claiming that it was on a spy mission. The Politburo said it was a deliberate provocation by the United States, to test the Soviet Union's military preparedness, or even to provoke a war. The United States accused the Soviet Union of obstructing search and rescue operations. Furthermore, the Soviet military suppressed evidence sought by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) investigation, notably the flight data recorders, which were eventually released nine years later after a change of government.

The incident was one of the most tense moments of the Cold War, and resulted in an escalation of anti-Soviet sentiment, particularly in the United States. The opposing points of view on the incident were never fully resolved; consequently, several groups continue to dispute official reports and offer alternate theories of the event. The subsequent release of transcripts and flight recorders by the Russian Federation has addressed some details.

As a result of the incident, the United States altered tracking procedures for aircraft departing Alaska, while the interface of the autopilot used on airliners was redesigned to make it more failsafe. President Ronald Reagan ordered the U.S. military to make the Global Positioning System (GPS) available for civilian use so that navigational errors like that of KAL 007 could be averted in the future.


Transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)

F/D = Flight Deck
C = Captain
FO = First Officer
FE = Flight Engineer
CA = Cabin Attendant
PA = Public Announcement
HF = High Frequency (radio)
VHF = Very High Frequency (radio)
CAM-1 = First Officer
CAM-2 = 3rd crewmember and PA
CAM-3 = Cockpit Area Mike
CAM-4 = Captain

Words spoken in English are in UPPERCASE letters
Words spoken in Korean have been translated into English and are in lowercase letters

CVR UTC FROM CAM CONTENT
0:16 17:54:26 F/D CAM-3 Have you had a long flight recently?
0:18 17:54:28 F/D CAM-3 From time to time
0:20 17:54:30 F/D CAM-3 Sounds good, as far as I know Chief Pilot Park has a long flight occasionally, but Chief Pilot Lee has ...
0:53 17:55:03 F/D CAM-3 ...
1:34 17:55:44 F/D CAM-3 Ah (yawn)
4:25 17:58:35 F/D CAM-3 Ah (yawn)
4:31 17:58:41 F/D FO CAM-3 Having a dull time please write down a comment now
4:37 17:58:47 F/D C CAM-3 Yes ... give it to me
4:39 17:58:49 F/D FO CAM-3 If you don't write it I might not pass the document check
4:48 17:58:58 F/D CAM-3 Please write down seperatly I have already done it three times but write down two here. One landing is Narita the other is Anchorage ...
5:03 17:59:13 F/D FO CAM-3 No I cannot do that
5:05 17:59:15 F/D C CAM-3 Why? You can do that
5:08 17:59:18 F/D FO CAM-3 The instructor will not write here so I will have to write it all myself
5:16 17:59:26 F/D C CAM-3 I am not an instructor either
5:17 17:59:27 F/D FO CAM-3 No if you are not an instructor, you can do it anyway
5:23 17:59:33 F/D C CAM-3 Don't you have anything else to sign?
5:28 17:59:38 F/D FO CAM-3 Please sign here
5:42 17:59:52 F/D FO CAM-3 I heard that last time Chief Pilot Lee Sang Tuk checked nine persons seven failed the document check
5:50 18:00:00 F/D CAM-3 [NOISE - COCKPIT DOOR?]
5:58 18:00:08 F/D FE CAM-3 Let's reduce ...
6:01 18:00:11 F/D CA CAM-3 Captain sir, would you like to have a meal?
6:03 18:00:13 F/D C CAM-3 What?
6:05 18:00:15 F/D C CAM-3 Meal? Is it already time to eat?
6:08 18:00:18 PA CAM-2 (Cabin announcement in Korean, see English announcement at 18.00.36)
6:09 18:00:19 F/D CAM-3 ...
6:14 18:00:24 F/D CA CAM-3 ...
6:16 18:00:26 F/D CAM-3 Do you want to eat now?
6:19 18:00:29 F/D CAM-3 Let's eat later
6:26 18:00:36 PA CAM-2 GOOD MORNING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE WILL BE LANDING AT SEOUL KIMPO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN ABOUT THREE HOURS. LOCAL TIME IN SEOUL RIGHT NOW IS THREE AM BEFORE LANDING WE WILL BE SERVING BEVERAGES AND BREAKFAST. THANK YOU
6:28 18:00:38 F/D C CAM-3 Well, if you say it too many times, it becomes a lie
6:31 18:00:41 F/D C CAM-3 Well, if you say too many times the good things, it becomes bad. Doesn't it?
6:47 18:00:57 PA CAM-2 (Cabin announcement in Japanese, see English announcement at 18.00.36)
6:53 18:01:03 F/D CAM-3 ...The person must live this way ...
6:58 18:01:08 F/D CAM-3 [NOISE - COCKPIT DOOR?]
7:08 18:01:18 F/D CAM-3 ...
7:12 18:01:22 F/D CAM-3 ...
7:46 18:01:56 F/D FO CAM-3 ... Why is it still dark?
7:49 18:01:59 F/D FE CAM-3 It is still a long way to go
7:52 18:02:02 F/D FO CAM-3 Isn't it time for sunrise yet?
8:29 18:02:39 F/D C CAM-3 ... after doing ... check
8:35 18:02:45 F/D FO CAM-3 This is who writes ... I won't write
8:37 18:02:47 F/D C CAM-3 Do it yourself
8:40 18:02:50 F/D FO CAM-3 Please write
8:41 18:02:51 F/D C CAM-3 Write it yourself
8:42 18:02:52 F/D FO CAM-3 How can I write it down myself
8:45 18:02:55 F/D C CAM-3 I don't care if you do it or not
8:48 18:02:58 F/D FO CAM-3 If I write it myself, in my own handwriting, I will fail the document check because ...
9:04 18:03:14 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3 ZERO ZERO SEVEN
9:09 18:03:19 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3 GO AHEAD
9:11 18:03:21 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3 What are you doing?
9:14 18:03:24 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3 What?
9:16 18:03:26 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 I said what are you doing?
9:20 18:03:30 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 We are ... we have a pleasant chat because Mr Kim here is giving us a little fun
9:28 18:03:38 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 (Laughter) Well, after arrival in Seoul ... it is better for you to study all those things
9:35 18:03:45 007 VHF 3 C CAM-1,2,3,4 Study what? There is nothing to be studied ... By the way, what a good season, it's autumn. I hope I could take a day off and for autumn leaves viewing
9:43 18:03:53 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 Make a schedule. Make a schedule
9:46 18:03:56 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 Why don't you take some time off and go to Sorak Mountain
9:54 18:04:04 F/D CAM-3 Why... do you do that ...
9:55 18:04:05 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 Are you about three minutes ahead of us?
9:56 18:04:06 F/D CAM-3 Yes
10:00 18:04:10 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 AH AH
10:10 18:04:20 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 NOKKA ESTIMATE is ONE EIGHT TWO er TWO FIVE OVER
10:20 18:04:30 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 AH AH TWO FIVE we estimate ONE EIGHT TWO NINE, ONE EIGHT TWO NINE
10:25 18:04:35 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 One minute late one minute FOUR minutes faster it's TWO FIVE
10:32 18:04:41 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 It will be very complicated to go through customs. if you want to go faster, go faster if you want to go slower, go slower. That's the complication
10:45 18:04:55 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 Um Um We are now having an unexpected strong tailwind
10:49 18:04:59 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 How much do you get there? How much and which direction?
10:53 18:05:02 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 TWO ZERO SIX
10:54 18:05:04 F/D CAM-1,2,3,4 Ask him how many knots?
10:56 18:05:06 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 THIRTY-FIVE KNOTS
10:57 18.0507 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 Um which direction, which direction
11:02 18:05:12 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 ZERO FOUR ZERO, ZERO FOUR ZERO
11:05 18:05:15 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 Thirty degrees? Thirty knots?
11:08 18:05:18 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 Thirty um forty degrees direction THIRTY FIVE KNOTS
11:13 18:05:23 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,4 Ah! You got so much! We still got headwind. Headwind two hundred fifteen degrees FIFTEEN KNOTS
11:22 18:05:32 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 Is it so? But according to FLIGHT PLAN wind direction THREE SIX ZERO FIFTEEN KNOTS approximately
11:30 18:05:40 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 We it may be like this
11:37 18:05:47 F/D CAM-3 (noise - yawn)
11:41 18:05:51 F/D CAM-3 (noise - yawn)
11:42 18:05:52 F/D CAM-3 The reasaon why to do this
11.45 18:05:55 F/D CAM-3 Is he ahead of us?
11:47 18:05:57 F/D CAM-3 Is he ahead of us?
11:48 18:05:58 F/D CAM-3 ...
11:56 18:06:06 F/D CAM-3 ...
12:22 18:06:32 F/D CAM-3 [NOISE - COCKPIT DOOR?]
13.18 18:07:28 F/D CAM-3 Let him go faster. ZERO ONE FIVE same TWO NINE at NOKKA as us. Let him go faster
13:33 18:07:43 F/D CAM-3 Why are they in such a hurry?
13:36 18:07:46 F/D CAM-3 They have tailwind
13:37 18:07:47 F/D CAM-3 What?
13:38 18:07:48 F/D CAM-3 They habe tailwind THiRTY-FIVE KNOTS
13:39 18:07:49 F/D CAM-3 Oh oh
13:42 18:07:52 F/D CAM-3 ...
14:22 18:08:32 F/D CAM-3 [NOISE - COCKPIT DOOR?]
14:26 18:08:36 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 ZERO ZERO SEVEN
14:29 18:08:37 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 Go ahead
14:32 18:08:42 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 Can you go up to flight level THREE FIVE ZERO
14:36 18:08:46 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 Sure we can
14:38 18:08:48 015 VHF CAM-1,2,3,4 OK we will REQUEST THREE SEVEN ZERO
14:41 18:08:51 007 VHF 3 CAM-1,2,3,4 OK
14:47 18:08:57 015 HF CAM-1,2,3 TOKYO RADIO KOREAN AIR ZERO ONE FIVE
14:54 18:09:04 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,3 STATION CALLING TOKYO GO AHEAD
14:56 18:09:06 015 HF CAM-1,2,3,4 AH ROGER KOREAN AIR ZERO ONE FIVE NOW MAINTAINS THREE FIVE ZERO REQUEST FLIGHT LEVEL THREE SEVEN ZERO OVER
15:04 18:09:14 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,3,4 TOKYO ROGER STAND BY CALL YOU BACK
15:07 18:09:17 015 HF CAM-1,2,3,4 ROGER STANDING BY
17:17 18:11:27 F/D CAM-3 I have heard that there is currency exchange a your airport
17:20 18:11:30 F/D CAM-3 In the airport currency exchange? What kind of money?
17:23 18:11:33 F/D CAM-3 Dollar to Korean money
17:26 18:11:36 F/D CAM-3 ... (unreadble)
17:29 18:11:39 F/D CAM-3 That s in the domestic building too, domestic building too
17:30 18:11:40 F/D CAM-3 Domestic. Where?
17:31 18:11:41 F/D CAM-3 That is Cho-Hung Bank in the domestic building
17:33 18:11:43 F/D CAM-3 Can I exchange in Cho-Hung Bank?
17:34 18:11:44 F/D CAM-3 Sure. There used to be no place in the domestic building
17:39 18:11:49 F/D CAM-3 If you go to Cho-Hung Bank in the domestic building ... What kind of money do you wish to exchange? Dollar to Korean money is all right, is all right
17:45 18:11:55 F/D CAM-3 Yes
17:47 18:11:57 F/D CAM-3 That is in the domestic building also
17:49 18:11:59 F/D CAM-3 It could be open nine o'clock in the morning. It could be ten o' clock in the morning
17:51 18:12:01 F/D CAM-3 It might be nine thirty
19:18 18:13:28 F/D CAM-3 ... (unreadable) ...
20:20 18:14:30   CAM-1 [SELCAL]
20:25 18:14:35 015 HF CAM-1,2,3 .... KOREAN AIR ZERO ONE FIVE SELCA GO AHEAD
20:29 18:14:39 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,3 KOREAN AIR ZERO ONE FIVE. CLEARANCE TOKYO ATC CLEARS KOREAN AIR ZERO ONE FIVE CLIMB AND MAINTAIN FLIGHT LEVEL THREE SEVEN ZERO REPORT REACHING
20:40 18:14:50 015 HF CAM-1,2,3 ... CLEARS ... CLIMB AH THREE SEVEN ZERO NOW LEAVING THREE FIVE ZERO FOR REPORT REACHING
20:47 18:14:57 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,3,4 TOKYO
20:49 18:14:59 007 HF 1 CAM-1,2,3,4 TOKYO RADIO KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN
20:53 18:15:03 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,3,4 KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN TOKYO
20:57 18:15:07 007 HF 1 CAM-1,2,3,4 KOREN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN REQUESTING CLIMB THREE FIVE ZERO
21:03 18:15:13 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,3,4 REQUESTING THREE FIVE ZERO?
21:05 18:15:15 007 HF 1 CAM-1,2,3,4 THAT IS AFFIRMATIVE NOW MAINTAIN AT THREE THREE ZERO KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN
21:09 18:15:19 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,3,4 ROGER STAND BY CAL YOU BACK
21:11 18:15:21 007 HF 1 CAM-1,2,3,4 ROGER
21:15 18:15:21 F/D CAM-1,2,3,4 Oh my God! This RADIO is very bad
21:42 18:15:52   CAM-4 [Audible morse transmission starts]
23:34 18:17:44 015 HF CAM-1,2,4 TOKYO RADIO KOREAN AIR ZERO ONE FIVE REACHING ER THREE SEVEN ZERO
23:39 18:17:49 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,4 KOREAN AIR ZERO ONE FIVE TOKYO ROGER
23:56 18:18:06   CAM-1,2,3,4 [Morse transmission audible, marked increase in volume of morse transmissions]
24.56 18:19:06   CAM-3 ... (unreadable)
25.10 18:19:20   CAM-3 ... (unreadable)
25.16 18.19:26   CAM-3 ... (unreadable)
25.30 18.19:40   CAM-3 ... (unreadable)
25.52 18.20:02 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,3,4 [ Selcal ]
25.59 18.20:09 007 HF 1 CAM-1,2,3,4 KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN SELCAL.
26.00 18.20:11 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,3,4 KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN CLEARANCE TOKYO ATC CLEARS KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN CLMIB AND MAINTAIN FLIGHT LEVEL THREE FIVE ZERO.
26.11 18.20:21 007 HF 1 CAM-1,2,3,4 AH ROGER KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN CLIMB AND MAINTAIN AT THREE FIVE ZERO LEAVING THREE THREE ZERO AT THIS TIME.
26.18 18.20:28 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,3,4 TOKYO ROGER.
27.38 18.21:48 F/D CAM-3 [ Sound: altitude alert ]
28.45 18.22:55 F/D CAM-4 [ Keyed microphone ]
28.46 18.22:56 007 HF 1 CAM-1,2,3,4 TOKYO RADIO KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN REACHING LEVEL THREE FIVE ZERO.
28.50 18.23:00 TOKYO HF CAM-1,2,3,4 KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN TOKYO ROGER.
31.45 18.25:55 DYNASTY 312 HF CAM-4 TOKYO RADIO, DYNASTY THREE ONE TWO ON FIVE SIX.
31.50 18.26:00 TOKYO HF CAM-4 DYNASTY THREE ONE TWO TOKYO.
31.52 18.26:02   CAM-3 [ Sound of eplosion?]
31.53 18.26:03 DYNASTY 312 HF CAM-4 Dynasty three one two position Payon one eight two five level three three zero estimate Shemya one nine three five remainder ... remaining one two six decimal zero minus five zero ... one zero diagonal four zero go ahead.
31.56 18.26:06 F/D CAM-3 What's happened?
31.58 18.26:08 F/D CAM-3 What?
32.00 18.26:10 F/D CAM-3 Retard throttles.
32.01 18.26:11 F/D CAM-3 Engines normal.
32.04 18.26:14 F/D CAM-3 Landing gear.
32.05 18.26:15 F/D CAM-3 [ Sound: cabin altitude warning ]
32.07 18.26:17 F/D CAM-3 Landing gear [ Noise of possible selection ]
32.08 18.26:18 F/D CAM-3 [ Sound: altitude deviation warning ]
32.11 18.26:21 F/D CAM-3 [ Sound: autopilot disconnect warning ]
32.12 18.26:22 F/D CAM-3 Altitude is going up.
32.13 18.26:23 F/D CAM-3 [ Sound: cabin call ]
32.14 18.26:24 F/D CAM-3 Altitude is going up.
32.15 18.26:25 F/D CAM-3 Speed brake is coming out.
32.16 18.26:26 F/D CAM-3 What? What?
32.17 18.26:27 F/D CAM-4 (unreadable)
32.19 18.26:29 F/D CAM-3 CHECK it out.
32.20 18.26:30 F/D CAM-2,3 [ Sound: PA chime for automatic cabin announcment ]
32.20 18.26:30 TOKYO HF CAM-4 DYNASTY THREE ONE TWO ... CONTACT ANCHORAGE.
32.23 18.26:33 F/D CAM-3 [Sound: cacin call]
32.23 18.26:33 F/D CAM-3 I am not able to drop altitude now unable.
32.24 18.26:34 PA CAM-2 Attention emergency descent.
32.25 18.26:35 DYNASTY 312 HF CAM-4 THANK YOU OUT
32.28 18.26:38 PA CAM-2 Attention emergency descent.
32.28 18.26:38 F/D CAM-3 Altitude is going up.
32.30 18.26:40 F/D CAM-3 This is not working. This is not working.
32.31 18.26:41 F/D CAM-3 Manually.
32.32 18.26:42 F/D CAM-3 Cannot do MANUALLY.
32.32 18.26:42 PA CAM-2 Attention emergency descent. {in Japanese}
32.33 18.26:43 F/D CAM-3 [ Sound: Autopilot disconnect warning ] Not working manually also.
32.35 18.26:45 F/D CAM-3 ENGINES are normal Sir.
32.36 18.26:46 PA CAM-2 Put out your cigarette. This is an emergency descent.
32.38 18.26:48 F/D CAM-3 ... (unreadable)
32.39 18.26:49 PA CAM-2 PUT OUT YOUR CIGARETTE. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY DESCENT
32.40 18.26:50 F/D CAM-3 Is it POWER COMPRESSION?
32.41 18.26:51 F/D CAM-3 Is that right?
32.42 18.26:52 PA CAM-2,3 Put out your cigarette. This is an emergency descent. {in Japanese}
32.42 18.26:52 F/D CAM-3 ... all of both ... *
32.44 18.26:54 F/D C CAM-3 Is that right?
32.45 18.26:55 PA CAM-2 Put the mask over your nose and mouth and adjust the headband.
32.47 18.26:57 007 HF 1 F/D CAM-1,3,4 TOKYO RADIO KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN.
32.51 18.27:01 PA CAM-2 PUT THE MASK OVER YOUR NOSE AND MOUTH AND ADJUST THE HEADBAND.
32.52 18.27:02 TOKYO HF CAM-1,3,4 TOKYO RADIO KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN.
32.54 18.27:04 007 HF 1 FO CAM-1,3,4 ROGER KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN ... (unreadable) AH WE (ARE EXPERIENCING) ...
32.58 18.27:08 PA CAM-2 Put the mask over your nose and mouth and adjust the headband. {in Japanese}
32.59 18.27:09 F/D C CAM-3 ALL COMPRESSOION.
33.00 18.27:10 007 HF 1 FO CAM-1 RAPID DECOMPRESSION DESCEND TO ONE ZERO THOUSAND.
33.05 18.27:15 PA CAM-2 Attention emergency descend.
33.09 18.27:19 PA CAM-2 ATTENTION EMERGENCY DESCEND.
33.10 18.27:20 F/D CAM-3 Now ... * ... we have to set this.
33.11 18.27:21 TOKYO HF CAM-1,3,4 KOREAN AIR ZERO ZERO SEVEN unreadble unreadable RADIO CHECK ON ONE ZERO ZERO FOUR EIGHT.
33.13 18.27:23 PA CAM-2 Attention emergency descent {in Japanese}.
33.13 18.27:23 F/D CAM-3 Speed.
33.16 18.27:26   CAM-3 Stand by Stand by Stand by Stand by set.
33.17 18.27:27 PA CAM-2 Put out your cigarette. This is an emergency descent.
33.20 18.27:30 PA F/D CAM-2 PUT OUT YOUR CIGARETTE. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY DESCENT.
33.23 18.27:33 PA CAM-2 Put out your cigarette. This is an emergency descent. {in Japanese}
33.28 18.27:38 PA CAM-2 Put the mask over your nose and mouth and adjust the headband.
33.33 18.27:43 PA CAM-2 Put the mask over your nose and mouth and adjust ...
33.36 18.27:46   - END OF RECORDING