When USSR Air Travel Was Restricted

Via Joe at MF comes this map of Japan Airlines routes circa the late 1960s:


Why the peculiar routes to Europe? The Soviets banned commercial flights from entering USSR space unless they were approved to fly into a Soviet airport. Flights south stopping at numerous airports were tedious, so Anchorage International Airport in Alaska was the easiest transfer point for routes. The remote airport became a common stopover for passengers flying to East Asia from the 1960s to the 1980s. Since restrictions were lifted after the fall of the USSR, the airport is today primarily used by cargo carriers.

And then from Roy at MF comes the origin of public GPS use: when Korean Air Lines Flight 007, carrying 269 passengers, was shot down by the USSR for entering Soviet airspace (it’s flight plan had brought it within 17 miles of the border and it strayed off course), President Ronald Reagan issued a directive guaranteeing that GPS signals would be available at no charge to the world when the system became operational. As Roy notes, you might be surprised that this type of progress is based on unexpected and unplanned connections.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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