N.Korean Dictators' Fear of Flying Explained

North Korea's nation founder Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il developed their morbid fear of flying after they witnessed the explosion of their exclusive jet in midair in 1982.

An academic said North Korea bought five IL-62 passenger planes from the Soviet Union to use as Kim Il-sung's exclusive aircraft and test flew one at Sunan Airport in Pyongyang, but it exploded in mid-air.

The aircraft was apparently piloted by the captain of Kim's personal flight crew, who was among 17 people killed in the accident.

"Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, who witnessed the explosion, were shocked and refused to board any aircraft flown by a North Korean pilot."

When he visited the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in 1984, Kim Il-sung spent a month traveling by train rather than board an airplane.

In 1986, Kim Il-sung had no choice but to fly to Moscow in at the invitation of then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. But he flew on a Soviet plane.

Kim Jong-il traveled only by special armored train.

But now it seems that his son, Kim Jong-un, is keen on flying and has piloted planes himself.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 30, 2014 08:31 KST