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Capt. Chun Byung-In



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Capt. Chun Byung-In

Captain Chun Byung-In, the pilot of KAL 007, was 45 years old at the time of the shootdown, leaving a wife, a 10-year old son, and a 13-year old daughter. His last words to his wife were "Goodbye... see you soon." He had served in the Korean Air Force for 10 years as a flight officer with military air shows and then, in 1972, moved on to Korean Air Lines. His reputation as a respected and model pilot (citation for being accident-free) spread, and he was appointed as back-up pilot for three of the State Visits of South Korean President Chun Doo Hwan. It is staggering to consider that if he had not been the pilot of KAL 007, another and similar fate might have met him. He was scheduled to be the pilot for the Presidential jet that met its end, as well as the end of 16 high South Korean government officials on board, when the plane was blown up by a terrorist bomb in Rangoon, Burma. That would take place in October of 1983 - just a month after the shootdown of KAL 007.

Captain Chun's total flying time was 10,625 hours. He had flown Romeo 20, the northernmost of the 5 NOPAC (North Pacific) routes spanning the sea between the U.S. and the Far East and coming close to the Soviet peninsula of Kamchatka a total of 27 times. Romeo 20 was the assigned route for KAL 007 but instead of having acquired it, KAL 007 would veer to the north of it and into harms way over Kamchatka, and then over the island of Sakhalin.

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Last modified: March 10, 2009

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