Early in the morning of September 21, 1953, two months after the end of the Korean War, North Korean Air Force Lt. But Kum Sok fly from the airbase Sunan, situated near Pyongyang. 21-year-old pilot confidently sent his plane to the side of the demarcation line between North and South Korea’s. But then, Kum Sok crossed the border and landed at the airport near Seoul Gimpo.
His flight lasted only 17 minutes. After landing, the MiG-15 taxied to the free parking lot next to the American “Sabre”. In front of astonished Americans the pilot got off the plane and then tore up a portrait of Kim Il Sung.
Curiously, during the Korean War, the Americans carried out the operation Moolah (Engl. “Bucks”) in order to get their hands on a workable copy of the Soviet jet fighter.
MiG-15 in their characteristics was not inferior, and in some respects was superior to the newest American fighter F-86 “Sabre”. Naturally, that kind of the aircraft was of great interest for US military.
In the spring of 1953, the USA gave the green light for the operation during which any Soviet, Chinese or North Korean pilot flown to the south would receive asylum and $ 50 000, and the pilot who escaped the first – to $ 100 000 ( about $ 900,000 in today’s prices).
On the night of April 26, 1953, two American bomber B-29 Superfortress dropped 1.2 million leaflets to the proposal on the Korean, Russian and Chinese on North Korea. On the April 27, 1953 14 stations in Japan and South Korea broadcast in Korean, Russian and Chinese languages:
“… All the brave pilots, who want to free themselves from the Communist yoke and start a better life … you are guaranteed shelter, protection, humane care and respect … If drivers wish, their names will be permanently stored in secret …”
However, none of the MiG-15 flown to the UN troops control area. In fact, the operation failed.
Only “success” was accidental because Lt. Kum Sok, although later received $ 100,000, claimed that he knew nothing about the American proposal. Explaining his escape, he said that he just got tired of living with the “red liars”. According to the pilot, the North Korean pilots have not even seen the American flyers since the spring, when the Americans threw them into the territory of the North Korea.