Re: Made in China

From: J Corbally (
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 16:22:04 MDT

>Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 13:21:03 +1000
>From: Damien Broderick <>
>Subject: Re: Made in China
>At 01:21 PM 4/21/01 -0700, Jeff Davis wrote:
> >(Everyone outside of China knows what happened, the Chinese fighter jock
> >screwed up, killed himself, and brought down the spy plane and its crew.)
>I guess there are a bunch of aviation experts on this list. Since I have
>zero knowledge of the aerobatics involved, could anyone explain *why* the
>Chinese version is impossible?

I'm certainly NOT qualified to offer a definitive opinion, but I've tried
to hit slower moving aircraft in a flight sim. It takes effort and
patience to do it, and that's without trying to stay in once piece
yourself. It sounds to me like flying alongside the U.S. aircraft and
giving it a gentle nudge down was the intention.

>The analogy that comes to my mind is a clapped out old school bus ambling
>along the high ridge, and this pesky Hell's Angel keeps zooming in and out
>and all about, giving the driver the finger, and finally in a fit of
>annoyance the driver turns the steering wheel a hair, and the biker is
>suddenly in the air and falling, while the much greater momentum of the bus
>keeps it firmly on the road, although dented and maybe with a blown tire.
>Does this make sense? If it does, presumably the only reason for denying
>that it's a possible cause in this case is that *Our Guys have Discipline,
>and would never do such a loutish thing unless ordered to, and anyway
>they're Our Guys*.
>Damien Broderick

My Hypothesis (Or "Shanghai'ed" Scenario, if you will indulge me:)

Look at it from the Chinese perspective; You have this aircraft you need to
"dissuade" from peeping on you (be it in your airspace or
international. Either way it's close enough to give your leaders the
collective willies). You can't fire on it. No siree. Whether in
International skies or your own backyard, you fire on it and the other side
will see it as an act of aggression, or worse. While this sort of thing
went on in the Cold War, you can't hope to keep that quiet in todays'
world. And even in the bad old days, it was a mostly a matter of
"escorting" your "guests" out of your skies.

So the pilot gets told "Get it down without shooting it down". What's left
for him to do? What they did in WWII when the cannon had jammed or you'd
just poured your last ammo belt into Jerry. You give him a not-so-friendly
nudge. Of course in the old days you'd try and wedge your entire crate in
the other guys' cockpit, but here it's a delicate "tip". However,
something goes a amiss. Either a misjudgement by the jet jockey, or panic
by the "visitor", or turbulence from the jets' wake, and you've got a jet
in trouble and an enemy coming down one way or another.

My guess is the White House, knowing the "facts", will go along with the
"accident" story and instruct the U.S. crew to keep their traps
shut. Telling the world that a Chinese pilot tried to ram them out of the
air would leave the White House with an angry nation expecting
payback. And the U.S. Government can't afford to be in a payback mood with
the only other real superpower on the planet.

Any kernel of truth? Or am I just smoking something?


"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and
crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures
to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."
-Q, Star Trek:TNG episode 'Q Who'

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