Military-trained personnel shot down MH17, says USAF expert

Russian-built Buk surface-to-air missile launcher
Russian-built Buk surface-to-air missile launcher

A FORMER United States Air Force Special Operations superintendent says it is now up to the international aviation industry to prove to passengers that the sky across the world is still safe.

Central Queensland University's aviation head Ronald Bishop, talking exclusively to APN Newsdesk on Friday, said the attack on the Malaysia Airlines plane over the skies of Ukraine was a tragedy that should never occurred.

It is believed pro-Russian insurgents blasted the aircraft out of the sky after mistaking it for a Ukrainian army transport plane.

The tragedy claimed 298 lives included those of 27 Australians.

Mr Bishop said civilian airlines should not have been flying in the area in the first place.

"There are a few airlines who avoided the area since the conflict first started," he said.

"I would not imagine that any airline would go anywhere near the place now.

"The way I look at it is, you would not fly over North Korea, so why would you fly over a country where there was a war being waged on the ground."

Mr Bishop, who was missile expert in the US Air Force for more than two decades, said it was highly unlikely the missile was fired from a person who had not received miliary training.

He said irrespective of the circumstances there was no excuse for any miliary outfit or personnel to shoot down a civilian plane.

"The system is not a simple system to use. You need at least four to six months of training and ongoing training to operate it," he said.

"To fire this system you need to have highly-specialised military training."

Mr Bishop said it was still extremely safe to fly but said it was now up to the world-wide aviation to prove to passengers it was.

He said the trust needed to be restored.

"At any given time there are 300 to 400 conflicts happening in the world," he said.

"The industry needs to plan better to avoid these regions.

"This tragedy will probably result in a significant change of flight routes.

"You could see more planes flying over the north and south poles as a direct result."

Topics:  cqu mh17

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