FW: Russian SST crash in 1973

Joseph S. Barrera III (joe@barrera.org)
Tue, 27 Jul 1999 21:21:01 -0700

-----Original Message-----
From: Venkat Padmanabhan [mailto:padmanab@MICROSOFT.com]
Sent: Monday, July 26, 1999 1:10 PM
To: joe@barrera.org
Subject: Russian SST crash in 1973

More info on the Nova program I mentioned -- how the perfidy of the airshow
organizers cost the
Russian crew (and a bunch of French citizens) their lives:


Key extract (Jean Forestier's evasive response would do any polititian

NARRATOR: Nearly 25 years after the event, what caused the TU-144 to crash
is only now being revealed. Minutes before Concorde and the TU-144 were
scheduled to fly, a French Army Mirage jet took off. A surprising departure,
since at international airshows, competing pilots expect to have the skies
to themselves. Regulations state that a five-mile column of airspace must be
kept free for their display. Concorde's crew was warned that the Mirage
would be flying. Jean Forestier, French accident investigator, was asked if
the same courtesy had been extended to the Russian crew.
NARRATOR: Why not?
JEAN FORESTIER: Right. Listen. We're moving away from the subject. If this
is the case, we will go round and round impossible issues. As far as I'm
concerned, it's very clear. The conversation is going in such a way. It's
quite clear. Right. It's over.
NARRATOR: Jean Forestier's revelation that the Soviet crew was not warned of
the Mirage was excluded from the government statement. There is speculation
that the French neglected to admit this breach of regulations because the
Mirage was on a clandestine mission to photograph the TU-144 in flight. In
particular, the French wanted detailed film of the canards, the insect wings
behind the cockpit. Flying at a height of approximately 4,000 feet in and
out of the clouds, the Mirage tracked the TU-144 through its routine. As the
Soviet plane climbed on a trajectory which would cross the Mirage's flight
path, the pilot, Koslov, was not aware that the French jet was flying
directly above him.
YURII KASHTANOV: At the moment when the pilots saw the Mirage which was
flying at roughly the same height as the TU-144, they couldn't tell whether
it was coming towards them or moving away.
NARRATOR: To avoid colliding with the Mirage, Koslov was forced to pitch the
plane violently downwards, causing gravitational forces of minus 1G, known
in pilot's jargon as a bunt.