Narrative:One of TAR's two CL-44 freighter planes was chartered through intermediaries to fly cargo from Larnaca (Cyprus) to Teheran (Iran). In fact, the airplane picked up a cargo of weapons at Tel Aviv and flew on to neutral Cyprus to continue its flight to Iran. The airplane was flying back to Cyprus on its third round trip and turned to a heading of 300 degrees to the Turkish border. It was then to turn left heading 240 degrees direct to Cyprus. The plane went off course to the north, taking the plane just into Soviet (Azerbaijan) airspace. Soviet fighters were scrambled to intercept the plane. According to Soviet accounts at that time the crew failed to respond to radio calls as well as signals from the fighter pilot flying close to the CL-44's nose. The cargo plane, while probably making the procedure turn to the left, tried to get away. In a heroic effort to bring down the plane, the fighter pilot steered his plane into the tail of the Canadair. Both planes crashed out of control but he ejected safely. Western aviation experts however think the pilot misjudged a turn and hit the airliner by accident.
Mid air collision
Loss of control
» Uncovering Soviet Disasters / James Oberg, 1988
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Tehran-Mehrabad Airport to Larnaca Airport as the crow flies is 1595 km (997 miles).
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.