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A detailed examination of the Viscount tragedies in Rhodesia. Includes a technical review of the Strela ground to air missile and Vickers Viscount. 
A lot of questions get asked about the Viscount tragedies. Here are some that are addressed in the book.
1. How did a journalist know it was aground to air missile before the forensic and crash investigation had been completed? 
2. How did Nkomo know it was his troops that did it?
3. How did NATJOC know it was a missile on the afternoon of 4th September?
4. Why was shrapnel damage assumed to be that of a Strela?
5. How come did Hollingworth state in the forensic report swear on the 8th that it was a Strela without conclusive evidence to such an extent that he had to send another team to return to the site to collect four pieces.
6. Why were time expired wing spars used in explosion testing at Nkomo Barracks when Nkomo, Hollingworth and Air Rhodesia had said it was a Strela? This was between the 8th September and 26th September.
7. Why return to the site and then “suddenly” find four pieces.
8. Why are three pieces - just shrapnel and one part of a supposed sealing ring located below the explosive section. (explosive forces per Newtons law would blow them backwards and down at the site of the strikes – not at the crash sites.
9. Why was the position of the sealing ring described by Hollingworth incorrectly located. There is no sealing ring in this position on a Strela.
10. Why was the wing spar from the Hunyani left onsite, to enable Downes to “find pieces” on returning to the crash site.
11. Incorrect facts quoted by Hollingworth.

  • A Strela can reach an effective altitude of 4,600 meters. Not true its capability is 2,300 meters but more likely 2,000 meters.
  • Shrapnel subject to extreme high explosive forces is significantly deformed and would not look like anything in manufactured form, the pieces of a pineapple grenade would be similar to the pieces of a similar metal shape. Smaller pieces are almost melted to pellet shapes. The “tiny” pieces as quoted by Hollingworth would not match anything other than other tiny explosive pieces.
  • There is no sealing ring on top of the propulsion tube. The sealing ring is on top of the explosive section.
  • The burning marks as identified and found on the tube would have been able to provide enough chemical residue to be able to be matched to the chemicals used in the propulsion mixture.

12. Why were NO components of the seeker head, electronics, spinning reticule, winglets, accumulator, gas controls of the guidance system found in both the Hunyani and the Umniati tragedies?
13. How did Hollingworth who claims that the entire engine of the Umniati was not found determine that a Strela hit the rear low pressure turbines?
14. How did the Strela go up an exhaust pipe one and a half times its own length?
15. Why didn’t the Strela explode on the vent at its exit point. Umniati tragedy?
16. How do you fit a missile going at 500 meters per second exactly up an exhaust vent?
17. Why would both Strela heat seeking missiles “fly past” a better heat source and one that is closer to the rear of the aircraft ie a closer and better signal to the ir head. The two outer turbines vent further aft than the inner turbines.
18. Would a Strela gang in the middle of the bush be able to launch a missile accurately in 12 seconds?
19. How would the Strela gang even know a plane was coming to prepare for such an event.
20. Why were the Viscounts flying at less than 2800 meters (500 meters- airport altitude + 2,300 Strela limitation) after 42 kilometres?
21. Why after adjusting for the flying times are the two incidents within two minutes timing of each other?

Paperback, 131 pages

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