Skip to comments.(LEAD) N. Korean helicopter crashes in China, killing pilot: source(actually MIG-21)
Posted on 08/17/2010 10:56:49 PM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
(LEAD) N. Korean helicopter crashes in China, killing pilot: source
SHENYANG, China, Aug. 18 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean helicopter crashed in a Chinese border area, killing the pilot aboard who may have attempted to defect to Russia, intelligence sources here said Wednesday.
The crash took place in Fushun Prefecture in the province of Liaoning Tuesday afternoon, the sources said, adding the pilot was the only person in the chopper when it crashed.
"The pilot died on the spot," one source said, adding the Chinese authorities were able to identify the nationality of the helicopter only after the crash.
Chinese authorities had confirmed that a small aircraft flew into their territory but did not identify its origin.
"The helicopter unexpectedly crashed while flying over Fushun," the source said, declining to be identified. It remains unclear what the model of the aircraft was.
Another source said that the helicopter is believed to have lost its direction while flying to Russia after escaping North Korea. China has a repatriation pact with North Korea, and that may have led the pilot to choose Russia as his destination.
Fushun is about 200 kilometers away from a North Korean air base in the border town of Sinuiju. The number of North Korean soldiers defecting from their impoverished homeland has increased in recent months as food shortages deepen, observers say.
Another photo of crash site. The tail section looks like that of old MIG model.
The location of crash site. This was apparently dated by about a hour. Its title says N. Korea helicopter crashed in China.
Likely ran out of fuel. That model of Mig is a flying fuel tank, and if it had any left in it, it wouuld have burned like a blow torch.Note there is no sign of fire. The pilot pancaked it in and hit a farm hut.
Likely it was flown not by a professional pilot but by a civilian with some basic training in crop dusting. The reason is simple - it’s impossible for a professional to mistake flying to China (South) and flying to Russia (North.) You could do that by stars, by the sun, and of course by any compass. Pilots who fly these airplanes on duty know the land, can find the compass among the instruments, and can escape easily. Only a civilian can be confused enough to lose orientation and on top of that probably make a small mistake in piloting that an old military aircraft (without computers) is not likely to forgive.
The map picture shows him headed almost due north. He was flying from the southern and westernnmost point on the border.
Good observation. I’m buyin’ it. Makes you wonder about China’s radar capabilities if any of this is true. I don’t believe much of anything reported from China, which is a rare occurrence in and of itself.
As a result, I look like a fool because of the comment about the title.:-)
[As a result, I look like a fool because of the comment about the title. . .]
You’re an invaluable contributor to this site and in no way a “fool.”
You’re certainly no fool TLR..Thanks for the update info.
I doubt China spends too much attention to it’s North Korean border when it comes to air traffic. It’s not like the Norkies are going to launch an air attack.
The only "fools" are the North Koreans for keeping their people shut in, and under their jackboots!
Well, screws are getting loose from those nutcases, and based on recent development(including this crash,) they have problem keeping their joint in order.
I see the map now, thanks. Still it's weird. I checked with Google Earth, and if you fly straight North from there you have to cross a good deal of China, and it's 930 miles until you get to Russia; you will cross the border into uninhabited areas of Siberia, and you'd better know your way around to find a city with an airport (might be another 500 miles; maybe more if you want an English-speaking controller.)
On the other hand, if you fly the heading 58 degrees you will land at any number of airfields around Vladivostok after only flying 445 miles. One catch is that you'd be flying along the NK-China border, which might have a few radars. But it would be pretty foolish to assume that inner regions of China are not under some sort of air traffic control.
At this point I have no guesses what the intention of the pilot was. His route makes little sense. Maybe he intended to turn East at some point? I checked the specs on Wikipedia, and it looks like this airplane wouldn't make it anywhere but China anyway:
Like many aircraft designed as interceptors, the MiG-21 had a short range. This was not helped by a design defect where the center of gravity shifted rearwards once two-thirds of the fuel had been used. This had the effect of making the plane uncontrollable, resulting in an endurance of only 45 minutes in clean condition. The issue of the short endurance and low fuel capacity of the MiG-21F, PF, PFM, S/SM and M/MF variantsthough each had a somewhat greater fuel capacity than its predecessorled to the development of the MT and SMT variants. These had a range increase of 250 km (155 mi) compared to the MiG-21SM, but at the cost of worsening all other performance figures (such as a lower service ceiling and slower time to altitude).
Someone already commented that probably the airplane ran out of fuel - this is very likely if the range is only 100-150 miles. The distance from Dandong (NK) to Fushun (China) is 125 miles per Google Earth - sounds about right to empty the tanks, especially if the pilot is not aware of how fast that is going to happen. Considering the center of mass change as the fuel is used up, it takes a pilot who is familiar with the aircraft to fly it past the 2/3 fuel point. I'm presuming NK doesn't have later modifications that somewhat fixed this problem. But even those modifications wouldn't have the range to reach Russia.
Can we be sure those pictures are of the latest incident? Do any of the stories mention the source of the photos?