Soviet Union: The Mystery of 09303

The huge, 14-wheel AN-22, the Soviet Union's equivalent of the C-5A, lifted off smoothly from Iceland's Keflavik airfield. Minutes later a sister ship followed, bearing the same blue and white colors. The two giant Soviet aircraft, heavily laden, were on the second leg of an 8,000-mile journey from northern Russia to deliver relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Peru.

When the second plane put down at its next refueling stop in Halifax, N.S., its crew immediately wondered why the first had not yet arrived. So did U.S. Air Force radarmen, who had been monitoring the course of both flights. The answer, apparently,...

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