Friday, August 31, 2007

C-130 carrying senators, congressman shot at several times in flight over Iraq

Above: A U.S. Air Force C-130 lifts off for an airlift mission from an undisclosed base in Southwest Asia in July.

C-130 carrying lawmakers dodges missiles

A military cargo plane carrying three senators and a congressman was forced to take evasive maneuvers and dispatch flares to avoid ground fire after taking off from Baghdad.

The lawmakers said their plane, a C-130, was under fire Thursday night from three rocket-propelled grenades over the course of several minutes as they left for Amman, Jordan...

Crew members apparently communicated to the pilots as they saw the initial RPG fired from the ground, Cramer said. After the first burst, the pilots maneuvered aggressively and set off flares used for drawing incoming fire away from aircraft.

Once the flares lit up the sky, lawmakers said, two more RPGs were fired as the pilots continued maneuvering.

Read the rest at Air Force Times

Plane Carrying U.S. Lawmakers Is Shot At in Iraq

A military cargo plane carrying three senators and a House member was forced to take evasive maneuvers and dispatch flares to avoid ground fire after taking off from Baghdad on Thursday night...

“It was a scary moment,” said Senator Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida, who said he had just taken off his body armor when he saw a flash outside the window. “Our pilots were terrific. They banked in one direction and then banked the other direction, and they set off the flares.”

He was traveling with Senators Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama, and James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, as well as Representative Robert E. Cramer, Democrat of Alabama.

Read the rest at the NY Times

Plane carrying congressional delegation comes under fire in Iraq

A military plane came under fire last night as it flew four members of Congress out of Baghdad...

"It was dark as the dickens outside, and I was looking out the little window. I saw the red glare of a shell or a missile coming up toward our plane," Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told reporters after the phone landed in Amman, Jordan. "Then, I saw a flare pop out, and our plane just started moving and changing directions and trying to move."

Read the rest at the USA Today

A U.S. Air Force C-130 taxis to a stop at a base in Southwest Asia after an airlift mission

A military aircraft carrying U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and three other members of Congress was fired upon Thursday as it left Baghdad.

“Three hit real close,” the Oklahoma Republican said by phone from Jordan. “It was very noisy.” Inhofe, who is a veteran pilot, was sitting in the cockpit during the nighttime departure...

Inhofe credited the plane’s crew with taking evasive action, which included sending out flares just in case the weapons were heat-seeking.

“They knew what they were doing,” he said.

Inhofe said the military assumes the shots fired at the C-130 were rocket-propelled grenades, adding that whatever was fired went straight up, an indication it was not a heat-seeking weapon...

As the senator watched from the cockpit, military helicopters that routinely accompany such flights were dispatched to the source of the fire, where they were able to direct a high-intensity light.

“They may be dead already,” Inhofe said of those who fired on the plane.

Read the rest at Tulsa World

Related Link:
Austrian Airlines cancels Iraq flights due to safety concerns

Related Link:
Sweden suspends flights to Iraq as avaiation authority investigates report of missile fired at passenger jet

Related Link:
Iraq denies Swedish passenger jet targeted by missile in Kurdistan