50 years ago: Cuban plane violates Cayman’s airspace

In the July 12, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following news story appeared on the front page:

“On Wednesday last, 5th July, about 5 p.m. a Cuban twin turbo prop plane, an Illyashin 17 (sometimes referred to Llyushan 17) No. G. 50 flew over the airfield in Grand Cayman at about 200 feet right across the threshold of the CBA as she came in to land.

“The D.C. 3 pilot had been watching this plane for some time so was not taken by surprise. Air traffic control operators in our tower made an attempt to speak to the pilot of the Cuban plane but he switched off his radio.

“The plane approached Grand Cayman from the North and appears to have flown extremely low right around the coastline.

“The Commonwealth Office in London have been informed of this further violation of international regulations regarding air space and it is anticipated that the U.K. Government will lodge a formal protest with the Cuban authorities.

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“This is the 3rd and probably last 4th known violation during the past 7 months. There have been a few in the past but they seem to be getting more frequent as there was one just before Christmas, one in January and in March, and in June an aircraft passed over but it was so high that identification was difficult.

“It is conjectured that the Cubans may either be interested in the reconstruction of our airfield and are taking photographs of this or that they are curious about the Tropospheric Scatter System dish-type aerials erected in Cayman Brac and at Batabano in connection with our telecommunications system.

“After flying around Grand Cayman, reports were received that Cayman Brac was also included in the Cuban exercise.”

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