From The Anti-Media:

Claire Bernish
December 2, 2015

And Russia isn’t entirely off the hook, either.

This is where science must step in — not necessarily to prove what did happen, but perhaps more imperatively, to prove what did not.

Belgian astrophysicists, Tom van Doorsselaere and Giovanni Lapenta of the University of Leuven, saw video of the downed jet and knew both Turkish and Russian ‘official’ accounts of the incident simply weren’t accurate. A simple lunchtime conversation on the topic led the pair to make some basic calculations. When the rough numbers contradicted government reports, they employed basic Newtonian mechanics (or, classical mechanics, the mathematical study of the motion of everyday objects and the forces that affect them) to impartially prove that reported ‘facts’ are sometimes quite relative, indeed.

Not in dispute, according to the 30 seconds it took for the plane to hit the ground at the crash site pinpointed on a map from Turkish officials, is “that the plane was moving at a height of at least 4,500 meters,” the physicists stated in their blog. “That number is consistent with the Turkish statement of the jets being at an altitude of 5,800 meters (19,000 feet).”

So, first up for dissection were Turkish air force allegations Russia’s warplane received 10 warnings in five minutes. But based on calculations using the location of the wreckage, the Russian fighter jet had been traveling at 980 km/h (kilometers per hour, or nearly 609 mph) — so those 2 km would’ve taken just seven seconds for the jet to traverse — not the 17 seconds Turkey has unwaveringly asserted. In order to cover that same distance in 17 seconds, the jets would have had to be traveling significantly slower, at approximately 420 km/h (about 261 mph).

As for the five minutes of warnings leading up to engagement, at speeds of 980 km/h, the Russian fighter would have covered 80 kilometers (nearly 50 miles). As the scientists pointed out:

“How could the Turkish air force predict that the Russian jets were about to enter Turkish air space? Military jets are very agile, and in theory the Russian jets could have turned at the last moment to avoid Turkish airspace. The warnings issued to the Russian pilots were mere speculation at the moment they were made.”

Next on the chopping block is Russia’s account of the incident per a map, which shows its fighter making an abrupt 90-degree turn away from Syria after being hit. Yet, in order for such an abrupt change of course to happen at those speeds, the jet would’ve had to be impacted by something far heavier and faster than itself. As van Doorsselaere told Deutsche Welle:

“A missile is much lighter than a plane. A 90-degree turn would be more likely in a scenario where something like a train hits something like a car.”

Maps on the downed Russian bomber incident provided by Russia (left) and Turkey (right). Click to enlarge.

Lapenta and van Doorsselaere were quick to emphasize they have no political motivation and take no side in their analysis. After their original breakdown of Turkey’s and Russia’s accounts of the incident, they have received additional information through independent submissions. Nevertheless, they do not plan to further analyze any evidence, even though they encourage others to elaborate on these findings. As van Doorsselaere said, “It would be a good thing if someone created an even more accurate model.”

Their impartiality despite the bellicose subject matter is admirable — particularly since they managed to make apparent that facts will always be facts… unless those facts are the official version, as approved by any government.

This article (It Turns out Both Turkey and Russia Are Lying About Downed Russian Bomber) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email

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