United States Congressman Larry Mc Donald from Georgia, who at the time was also the second president of the conservative John Birch Society, was on the flight. After taking off from Anchorage, the flight was instructed by air traffic control (ATC) to turn to a heading of 220 degrees.
Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Senator Steve Symms of Idaho, and Representative Carroll Hubbard of Kentucky were aboard sister flight KAL 015, which flew 15 minutes behind KAL 007; they were headed, along with Mc Donald on KAL 007, to Seoul, South Korea, in order to attend the ceremonies for the thirtieth anniversary of the U. Approximately 90 seconds later, ATC directed the flight to "proceed direct Bethel when able".
If, however, the plane was more than 7.5 miles (12.1 km) from the flight-planned course line when the pilot turned the autopilot mode selector from HEADING to INS, the plane would continue to track the heading selected in HEADING mode as long as the actual position of the plane was more than 7.5 miles (12.1 km) from the programmed INS course line.
The autopilot computer software commanded the INS mode to remain in the "armed" condition until the plane had moved to a position less than 7.5 miles (12.1 km) from the desired course line.
) was a scheduled Korean Air Lines flight from New York City to Seoul via Anchorage, Alaska.
On September 1, 1983, the South Korean airliner serving the flight was shot down by a Soviet Su-15 interceptor, near Moneron Island west of Sakhalin in the Sea of Japan.
The interceptor's pilot was Major Gennadi Osipovich.