View Full Version : U.S. Navy EP-3 forced down by Chinese

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2nd Apr 2001, 21:47
Surely there must be some interest about the top story in the world news -- that of a U.S. Navy EP-3 Airies II spy plane forced down with 24 crewmen aboard after a collision with a Chinese fighter.

The navy plane landed on the Chinese island of Hainan. The Chinese F-8 (Jian-8) apparently went down after the collision.

Both sides blame each other. The American crew reportedly has been isolated. The Chinese reportedly are crawling all over the place gathering information on all the latest in electronic listening devices.

This happened on Sunday. I've searched and searched, but could not find anything on PPRune.

2nd Apr 2001, 22:11
Try the "Military Aircrew" Forum!!

Ranger One
3rd Apr 2001, 00:23
There's a thread on the Mil forum at:


One thought of mine... ok it's a military item, but nevertheless a US aircraft has been involved in a serious, possibly fatal, incident. How can the US possibly take the position that the EP-3 is 'sovereign US territory', not to be touched? Do they expect that the Chinese will carry out no investigation whatever? Surely they have every right to do so...?

OK tounge slightly in cheek there, this is the Chinese, this is realpolitik, but it's still a bloody arrogant thing to say...
I suppose the Americans promptly returned every aircraft that cold-war era defectors flew to the West, intact and uninspected...!

Yeah, right.

Ranger One

Ignition Override
3rd Apr 2001, 07:37
Maybe the Dept. of Defense will now decide to give each "interned" EP-3 enlisted crewmember the same per diem as is given to officers, for a change. Or even a nice re-enlistmemt bonus for those at the end of their active duty tour. Or are any in the Navy Reserve etc?

Let's hope that the crewmembers are treated well and their families have excellent support.

3rd Apr 2001, 11:32
I`d like to see the reaction from the US media and population if this was a Chinese spy plane flying on the " edge " of US Domestic Airspace that collided with an American fighter plane......
I thought American forces pilots were trained in formation flying ? ( tongue in cheek ) Cheers

3rd Apr 2001, 11:57
Can some one smarter than me please advise what an EP 3 is, and what is it used for? Thanks people

Hard Rider
3rd Apr 2001, 14:44
You can get pictures on the following site:

www.airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net)

Go to the keyword search bit, type in ep-3, click "civil and military" under it and you'll get some pictures and descriptions of the Orion. Just about any aircraft can be found on this site. I just wish I could get them to accept some of my photos !

3rd Apr 2001, 15:20
Straits Times giving good coverage, including maps and photos:


and some other links from the area:


3rd Apr 2001, 15:27
Dubbya was throwing his weight around
in the media again

If I were the chinese I would send the thing back in crates !

3rd Apr 2001, 15:28

In 1974, the Russians had a single-seater get lost & land in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. It was surrounded by a National Guard unit. The crew was catered to, the aircraft was refueled & with a brief diplomatic exchange, allowed to return.

The bad news was that the DEW Line radar never picked it up.

If the roles were reversed in this latest incident, the U.S. would apologize, repair the aircraft and court-martial the unit commander for the interceptor fighters.

3rd Apr 2001, 16:19
SkyDrifter said:
"If the roles were reversed in this latest incident, the U.S. would apologize, repair the aircraft and court-martial the unit commander for the interceptor fighters."

AND they will give medals to the Chinese air-crew for out-standing airmanship as well.

3rd Apr 2001, 21:51
I'd like to make a 50-50 bet that the Chinese F-8 (J-8) interceptor pilot never went down in the drink. The Taiwanese, who were watching all of this on radar, never mentioned that one "blip" went missing after the contact was made.

Also, other sources say that interceptor No. 2 fired accross the EC-3s bow to make it "follow me" to Hainan Island. So what's this bull s*it the Chinese are saying about "illegally" invading their territory.

Tom Clancy could not have put it beeter. The whole incident seems like it was planned, at least to some extent.

3rd Apr 2001, 21:57
Just heard that the Chinese have let the Americans in to speak with their pilots.......

3rd Apr 2001, 22:13
Skydrifter - You may also remember the early 80's case od a Rusiian fighter that defected to Japan. The Russkies asked for the a/c back - the US gave it back....after 4 days during which time they had stripped the a/c down to its component parts, measured, photographed and recorded the same and then rebuilt it.

Lets also not forget the fact that throughout the cold war, various USAF and RAF repeatedly violated USSR airspace (and Im talking about flights OVER towns like Kiev and Minsk not just brief forays into contested airspace). How would you feel if their Bears had overflown Newcastle or Boston?

Me, Im no Sino lover or repecter of their Human Rights record, but I am finding this very amusing.

1 of many
3rd Apr 2001, 22:19
The Americans of course expect their aircraft to be treated with the same respect that they treated the MiG 25 that defected to Japan a few years ago.

As they say, 'What goes round comes round'. Poetic justice I feel.

As for the 'secrets', they belong to the Chinese in the first place. Its how they are gathered that's making the Americans nervous.

What makes me nervous, is Bush. I bet he knows where China is . . by now.

3rd Apr 2001, 22:48
One of Many,

Poetic Justice?? I'm glad so many of you find this entertaining, You seem to all revel in watching America get pissed on! Sad, Lets see who you expect to help you in your time of need. Don't wait for the Chinese to come......and the other guy who likes to make fun of US pilots who "Cant fly formation" where did you get your formation training at?

3rd Apr 2001, 23:19
Didn't the ruskies dink a Norwegian P-3 a few years ago with a Flanker? The Norwegian aircrew got some goods close formation shots that they released to the world press. any ppruner got a link to them?

3rd Apr 2001, 23:45
In the 50s and 60s, I have read, the Americans, although denying it, had to cross into Soviet or Chinese territory with the Orion to get a feed-back on the defense radar and then hurry back out again. Back then, radar was short range.

The USN and USAF were particularly active in Eastern Russia and also the Baltics, one shot down over Liepaja, Latvia, where recently there was a ceremony honoring the American crewmen who vanished off the face of the Earth, although some residents saw full chutes dropping down.

I wrote a news story about this in the mid-60s and as I remember it involved at least six incidents of U.S. intelligence planes coming in contact with MiG-15s to MiG-19s at the time. Most of those air crews also vanished.

Today, with all the modern equipment, we don't have to cross a nation's border to find out how fast they will respond or what we want to find out.

I firmly believe that the EC-3 was in international waters and this was a set-up by the Chinese. For goodness sake, we all have spy planes. Take a look at your own -- the Nimrod.

Iceland won the fishing war against the U.K. in the 70s, despite the Nimrod.

4th Apr 2001, 01:14
If anybody has the time, read Seawolf by Patrick Robinson (isbn 0-09-940526-1). The parallel to the ep-3 incident is uncanny. There is a definite bad feeling about this, does Bush (and his Senate) have the expirience to deal with this. I hope the boys and girls on EP-3 had a sledghammer before the chinese got to the aircraft.
Regards to all


4th Apr 2001, 01:38
Latvia, our news said last night that since the fifties the US has lost twenty one aircraft and one hundred and thirty four crew to spy missions. I mean lost without a trace. They showed an RB-50, supposedly the first loss, that had been based in either Iran or Turkey.
Wide Body, I think you may be right about President Bush lacking in "international experience." His critics gleefully point that out at every opportunity, but he does have some pretty heavy hitters to call upon. Powell and Cheney come to mind.
One other thing the Chinese should also keep in the back of their minds. They want to join the WTO and they want to hold the 2008 Olympics. They'll do neither without US agreement.

[This message has been edited by pigboat (edited 03 April 2001).]

4th Apr 2001, 01:56
I'm just curious, are you british by any chance jealous of us "americans"??

Seems like you all support the communists to the final draw.

It's tough being the best I guess

4th Apr 2001, 02:13
I'm not envious of the Americans, I used to work with some of their Finest tactitians in the world. As for being the best I'll settle for being numerically superior. I hope the USA get back there 24 crew and their aircraft. I just hope Cheney and Powell keep their boss at arms length. I do not belive the Chinese will miss the opportunity to give the Orion (sorry Aires II)a good look over.
regards to all


[This message has been edited by Wide-Body (edited 03 April 2001).]

4th Apr 2001, 03:47

I was raised next to a DEW Line fighter base. All are correct on the can-and-mouse-aircraft spy games. The aircraft actually shot down are still highly secret, but there is no reason to think that there were not losses.

In contrast, that was the infamous 'cold war;' we didn't have Russia as a 'most favored' trading partner.

I'll bet Clinton could make a couple of phone calls & get aircraft & crew released; they owe him - big time. Or; is the other way around? {:-))

4th Apr 2001, 04:56
Good job it wasn't an RC-135!

The EP-3E is at least less sensitive than that.

Despite being a Brit, I'm sad to see the loss, but have to say that when the roles have been reversed, Eastern Bloc aircraft have been fair game for examination and even dismantling (read the account of the Firebar which went down in Lake Havel in Wright's Spycatcher, let alone the MiG-25 in Japan!). If the EP-3E is handed back at all, it will only be after its equipment has been minutely examined (quite possibly by China's allies) and in the warped code of etiquette that surrounds the aerial espionage game, that's fair enough, and the US Govt and people should stop whining about it.

What is disgraceful, and what goes against the rules is the continued use of the crew as hostages, and I have every sympathy for every American who has been angered by their treatment. I hope they're home soon.

Ignition Override
4th Apr 2001, 05:28
Considering the aggresive intercepts, as reported by the DOD in the weeks before this sad accident, maybe it was a matter of time before an inexperienced or over-aggressive Chinese pilot would make a mistake and possibly misjudge his closure rate.

Don't believe I've done formation flying at night. It might be a bit risky to aggresively approach another aircraft at night, is it not? Is it very possible that the EP-3 made a gentle turn into the other plane, in order to turn further away from hostile airspace, maybe not being aware of it in the darkness?

Do Chinese and other interceptor jets keep their position and beacon lights on during intercepts with suspicious aircraft? On airliners these are mostly red and green lights? We switch on nacele and floodlights below 10,000' and these are white. A few of the planes in a specific fleet type here have white strobe lights. Were any crewmembers required to stare out a window for any approaching fighters? Whether that was the case or not, then smoothly rolling into a 20 degree bank into the (unseen, dark) the F-8 fighter could produce a collision? Or is this very unlikely?

Would any tactical jet pilots care to comment? Former Pres. Clinton might have punished the Navy EP-3 Squadron CO and Wing Commander for having angered his Chinese buddies.

4th Apr 2001, 05:55
Many posts have mentioned the incidents where Soviet crews defected with their aircraft and compared them with this situation. Interesting, an aircrew flying in International airspace is intercepted, apparently rammed, forced down against their will and somehow this is the same? The word piracy seems to fit this situation well.

4th Apr 2001, 06:17

The reality is that there is no way China could determine the factual case, in the given time frame, if the P-3 HAD tried to cause the collision. Radar isn't that good & the injured pilot would have been too busy to account, while the first aircraft couldn't have seen the event. Thus, the rhetoric & propaganda are evident, but expected.

It is clear, however that the P-3 didn't have the airspeed to have achieved the damage against the fighter, if it had been either an accidental or deliberate act on his part.

Therefore, it is appropriate to honor the emergency nature of the event & let the aircraft & crew go.

If the reports of increasingly close intercepts are true, there is a certain amount of egg on the Navy's part for continuing to send aircraft into a known threat arena, unescorted.

Given China's increasing missile capability, there may be a legitimate need for the intelligence gathering.

mr hanky
4th Apr 2001, 06:36
Ignition Override, unless you're formating on something with bright electroluminescent strip lights or similar, night form can be pretty hairy - quite difficult to judge closure rates, and easy to end up dangerously out of position if you're not on the ball. Certainly not the place for aggressive flying!

Edmund Spencer
4th Apr 2001, 07:26
Completely concur Mr H.

Night intercepts and VIDs can be quite testing on a black night with no horizon and a bit of IMC around. Likely as not everyone would have been flying around with lights off just to make it difficult for the other side!

Even with the use of radar and a good HUD the manoeuvre can be very disorientating and requires a high degree of concentration.


Sleep after toil,
Port after stormy seas,
Ease after war,
Death after life does greatly please.

4th Apr 2001, 07:29
While I acknowledge that the chinese will look over what is left of the aircraft in minute detail, and may not even give it back, that is how the game is played. (Usually with an enemy, though, not a most favored nation. But apparently the chinese want to be considered an enemy) I do not think that a delay of even 1 second in releasing the crew was acceptable. Holding the crew hostage is a such an outrage, I can't even begin to describe it.

As a result, We should instantly recognize Taiwan and sell em whatever they want. No holding back.


Drop and Stop
4th Apr 2001, 08:34
For a picture of the EP-3 on the ground in Hainan click here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/asia-pacific/newsid_1259000/1259236.stm)

[This message has been edited by Drop and Stop (edited 04 April 2001).]

Ignition Override
4th Apr 2001, 09:08
And so it is definitely true that the collision happened at night, or sometime between sunset and sunrise?

As a possible background for over-aggressive fighter pilots, today's April 3rd "Wall Street Journal" has an interesting article about the factions, nationalistic and others, struggling for future control over the Red Chinese government. At least one strong faction supposedly prefers aggresive military tactics towards any strong foreign influences in East Asia.

Are there pilots out in PpruneLand who actually believe that an EP-3 or any other derivative of an airline design (the Lockheed L-188, "Electra) can be very maneuverable, compared to a fighter?! Who could be so ignorant?

[This message has been edited by Ignition Override (edited 04 April 2001).]

Rogaine addict
4th Apr 2001, 09:11
>>I'll bet Clinton could make a couple of phone calls & get aircraft & crew released; they owe him - big time. Or; is the other way around? {:-))<<

Correction: Those secrets that he sold for soft campaign contributions were paid for by U.S. tax payers, so they owe us big time.

In light of recent agressive intercepts, somebody screwed the pooch for sending these guys out unescorted.

Not immediately releasing our crewmembers is an unforgivable sin. I think a reasonable rescue mission with a few aircraft carriers off the coast of Hainan and a half-dozen loaded B52s overhead China might influence them to let our people go. Afterwards, we should end trade with the bastards. (I'm sure we can buy slinkies and rubber dog shlt from somebody else for just pennies more)
We will soon see if Bush has the balls to force them to give up the hostages or if he's gonna let other countries push us around as our most recent presidents have. How long would we wait to do something if a politician's son or daughter were one of these crewmembers?

4th Apr 2001, 11:21
The word filtering out (from a Jane's Defence internal source) is that they ditched the crypto books, prayerwheels, handhelds but were unable to dump or destroy any significant amount of the more sensitive hardware (a de-racking problemo)due to short time available. Mission-stored data was deleted but programs were not. With two engines out on one side I guess they weren't too keen on slowing and opening the cabin door either.

4th Apr 2001, 12:18
With all the juicy mobile and e-mail eavesdropping they must have been distracted from airmanship skills .....like LOOK OUT!

4th Apr 2001, 12:24
Remember the USS Pueblo? The North Koreans took it in 1968 and held the crew for a year, treating them very badly. They still have the ship, by all accounts.

Ramp van
4th Apr 2001, 12:31
I know this sounds stupid, and I wouldn't have done it but why didn't they ditch the aircraft in the sea? A couple of days in the salt water would have done the electrics/computers the world of good

4th Apr 2001, 13:11
Latvia, Hainan Island is roughly 1000K from Taiwan. Where did you get the information about Taiwanese radar surveillance of this incident?

1 of many
4th Apr 2001, 13:23

I did 24 years in the RAF doing 'stupid' stuff.

If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

I get the drift that you know we have/do this stuff for years. The crime is getting caught.

4th Apr 2001, 13:26
400Skipper. As far as I know, China aren't (yet) enemies of the USA. Perhaps the crew thought that torching a $100,000,000 aircraft might not be a great idea as they could expect to get it back at some stage.

The Nr Fairy
4th Apr 2001, 13:27
dv8 :

If there were only 1 or 2 crew, that might be plausible.

However, with 24 crew, of which 8 are charged solely with FLYING the aircraft and the rest solely with the ELINT stuff, I suspect your proposition has little merit.

Going Around & Around
4th Apr 2001, 13:28
I can't see why they should release the aircrew straight away.
If any of us just dropped into a military airfield even in our own country I bet they'd have quite a few questions, let alone a foreign country in a spy plane after an arranged intercept.

I think they are quite within their rights to pull it apart. After all, customs can do it at the drop of a hat looking for drugs. If the a/c really is that sensitive, and they obviously had enough control to direct and land it safely at an airfield, they really should have ditched it or had a little explosive device to send it into a million very small pieces immediately after landing and evacuating!

This new US administration in the few months since inception has managed to nark both the Russians and now the Chinese too. Not really very bright is it, just to keep a few right-wing Rednecks happy! Playing dangerous games for the sake of ego!

Flap 5
4th Apr 2001, 13:41
Those of you who thought that George Orwell's '1984' view of the world passed us all by without happening should take a good look at the 'Peoples Republic' of China of today. I believe the Americans are now seeing what the Chinese government and military are really like.

ickle black box
4th Apr 2001, 14:05
The reason they can't board the aircraft is International Law, which the Chinese are clearly breaking. There are also internationally agreed rules, regarding intercepts, and similar events, to try to avoid this sort of situation arising.

Customs can take your car apart when you arrive at Dover docks, returning from France, because that is covered entirly by British law. Aircraft are different, as they remain soverign territory of the country in which they are registered. However, if China want to ignore international law in this case, they way they ignore human rights issues, it will be almost impossible to stop them.

What the US can do, is withhold any foreign aid that me be due to them, withdraw investment, counter their olympic bid etc etc, or bribe them, by reducing their planned arms sales to Taiwan.

4th Apr 2001, 14:09
Going around & around, they didn't just drop in as you say. They had a serious emergency and were well within their rights under international law to land at the nearest suitable piece of concrete. China under obligation from international law has to allow them to land and treat the crew properly.

China and the US are not yet at war, but the holding of a military crew and their aeroplane against their will could surely be seen as provocation towards war. This has some way to go yet.

4th Apr 2001, 14:50
Ickle and others... regarding the claim that the aircraft is US territory.
In the mid 90s the US boarded and searched a chinese ship the 'Yinhe' in international waters. Much protesting from China claiming it was against international law.

4th Apr 2001, 16:06
NR Fairy

Helloooooooo......I'm joking! I know the pilots haven't got CCTV....yet!

4th Apr 2001, 16:50
And not so long ago, when a Mig pilot defected to the states and took his airplane with him, did we "respect the soveriegn integrity of the Mig?" Did we hell. The Chinese have every right, established by our own precedent to rip the thing apart .... unfortunately.

4th Apr 2001, 17:34

While they don't have the "right" to rip the aircraft apart. They will. It is how enemies treat each other. I guess that is what they want to be.

What they most certainly do NOT have the right to do is incarcerate that crew of 24 (including 3 women btw).

We should have invaded Korea over the PUEBLO, but were distracted by Vietnam. While I don't advocate invading China over this, I see no reason to continue trade or diplomatic relations. I also think it is high time we stopped giving the cold shoulder to Taiwan and it is time to treat Taiwan like the democratic ally that they are and stop appeasing the chinese.


4th Apr 2001, 17:37

The bottom line is that this was an emergency, period, end of sentence.

That's like China insisting on the right to detain and cavity-search Red Cross workers coming to the rescue of earthquake victims.

Given Clinton's 'give-'em-anything' policy, I hope we starve the bastards.

Unfortunately, this might be China's way of nailing the U.S. before we can recover from the Clinton military strip-down.

Good test of Bush, however.

4th Apr 2001, 20:13
...nice to know the freedom of speech is live and well.

4th Apr 2001, 21:14
One of Many,

I was commenting on your thinly veiled enjoyment that Uncle Sam has egg on his face, If you did what you say you did for 24 years, then why such glee concerning this incident? Like another reader stated in another thread, I find the amount of anti-Americanism on Pprune an eye-opener!! I can handle the heat, I've handled it in places like Panama,Iraq etc...its just I don't understand the attitudes on this site...Americans hardly ever harbor ill will against Europe, but it seems like a hobby for you guys...

4th Apr 2001, 22:00

Might I offer one (slightly drunk!) European's perspective?

You have a point with your 'Anti-American' accusation - we Europeans must sometimes appear to be just that. Maybe it's because we admire the USA so much - that because we embrace your culture, shelter under a largely US military umbrella, and admire your many achievements when you fall short of perfection, we are more disappointed than we should be.

Thus occasional redneck attitudes and brinkmanship in a nation which invented democracy and has striven for peace and harmony may be bound to stir up hostility and criticism. Similarly, episodes like 'Shrub's' rejection of Kyoto (you account for 25% of emissions) are hard to take from a nation which has produced the main thinkers on the environment.

Add to this a quite natural envy of your economic success, and some friction is inevitable.

And I do think that sometimes its in the American national character to be a little thin-skinned, and to expect unqualified gratitude and admiration.

But it's like very close relatives or a long-standing marriage. Maybe you don't say good things often enough, and maybe you get irritated more than you would with strangers, but underneath it, the relationship remains strong, vital, and I hope enduring.

PS: I'm sure that even many American's must be unhappy at having Shrub in the White House, and scared by his actions, or just his sheer inexperience. Criticising the far right in the USA doesn't make anyone Un-American or Anti-American - it can never be "My Government Right or Wrong" surely?

[This message has been edited by Jackonicko (edited 04 April 2001).]

4th Apr 2001, 22:30
...on that note roc, you know what the first thing a women does when she gets out of the battered wifes shelter?

The dishes if she knows whats good for her.

4th Apr 2001, 22:35
...on that note roc, you know what the first thing a women does when she gets out of the battered wifes shelter?

The dishes if she knows whats good for her.

4th Apr 2001, 23:44
Drop and Stop,
Thanks for the pix. According to the DOD one prop is supposed to be completely off. Is that the one hidden behind the front view of the plane? The radar dome in front seems to be dismantled. It is hard to imagine that it was sheered off by the collision in such a clean manner.

The radar information, I believe, cam from the Straits Times two days ago. I don't know if they have it in their archives today.

Generally, I believe some of the people are giving the U.S. a pretty hard ride over this incident, especially concerning George W. Clinton may have been a sleeze bag who didn't know where Bosnia was when he came to office and learned that there was a Europe two years later, but in this case, what is the U.S. supposed to do -- cave in because of some meglomaniacal Chinese statements?

I've been there. Two and a half years in the USSR at that time and this kind of vomit that the Chinese are spewing at the West (tomorrow's flight might be a U.K. mission) is completely unacceptable. I actually wonder how Bush manages to keep his cool.

Of course, the plane, from the moment it landed, was a total write-off. DOD knew this and so did NSA. The "sovereignity" issue was just bunk, but someone had to say something in spite of the Chinese.

This whole thing is not going well at all.

5th Apr 2001, 00:01
Try the www.taipeitimes.com (http://www.taipeitimes.com) for the radar info. However, today they are saying that, indeed, a Chinese pilot went down. Dont't have much from this side.

5th Apr 2001, 00:14
Further, you should look at the Military forum, 2nd page under "Kiting for Boys", he'll give you the exact location of the Taipei Times article you want.

5th Apr 2001, 00:29
No-one has answered Ramp Vans previous question - why didn't they ditch rather than land in "enemy" territory? I would hazard a guess that ditching an EP-3 wouldn't be as hazardous as a modern jet (lower stall speed? no engines hung under the wings?). And presumably most of the crew could have bailed out first?

It really is a tough one for such a new administration. And for all those that are knocking Bush, what do you think Gore would have done?

(I Sit, I Watch, I Smile)

Reheat On
5th Apr 2001, 00:51
You might care to get a map out and check out the populations of cartilaginous fish down there before you make bright comment like that - aside from a Captains responsibility to his crew etc etc.

The likelyhood is that most of the boards and processors are standard (indeed who knows, made in China?), and that all the software will have been uninstalled after a data flush, and I guess the rest of the cold coffee will have been used to wash over the processor boards!.

[This message has been edited by Reheat On (edited 04 April 2001).]

5th Apr 2001, 01:26
Just in case anyone's interested - from the DCID Directive 1/21 Annex C, Part 2( SCI - Sensitive Compartmented Information) Although may not be wholly appropriate in this case ?

Airborne Operations:

If an aircraft landing in unfriendly territory is anticipated, all SCI material will be immediately destroyed, with the destruction process preferably taking place prior to landing.

8.3.1 When flights are planned over unfriendly territory, SCI to be carried on board will be selected by the intelligence mission personnel and consist of the absolute minimum required for mission accomplishment.
8.3.2 All personnel will rehearse emergency destruction before each mission. Such emergency preparation rehearsals will be made a matter of record.

More info - try link www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/dcid1-21.htm#air (http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/dcid1-21.htm#air)
Public Domain - so no security issues.


5th Apr 2001, 01:30
Glad to see 400Skipper thought his crude and irrelevant joke so funny he had to post it twice.

5th Apr 2001, 01:31
Taiwan Times reports that there was some machine gunning from interceptor No. 2 to make sure the plane landed in Chinese territory.

Look a few posts back to see the web site.

5th Apr 2001, 01:50
Very good on a moment's notice. What else can you provide?

5th Apr 2001, 02:09
The Chinese just don't realise who they are dealing with and the truth of the matter is if they piss us off anymore they will only hurt themselves.

5th Apr 2001, 02:40
I've seen a close-up of that photo of the a/c on the ground at the base. The radome is missing of course, but the prop blades on No. 1 are all badly chewed up especially at the base of each blade. There are gashes under the left wing and CNN reports the same wing is minus flaps.

Feline, without flaps the speed would have been too high for ditching attempt but I'll defer on this to the pros.

From the looks of the aircraft the crew performed exceptionally. They're all based out of a NAS a hundred miles south of here. A lot of thoughts are with them.

[This message has been edited by Rollingthunder (edited 04 April 2001).]

5th Apr 2001, 04:25

Some Americans are tough on America in the shadow of Big Business uber alles.

Clinton devastated the military, while paying no attention to major legal questions, etc.

In the FAA arena, the U.S is literally a disaster & getting worse. Yet you can't find anybody in the government who cares, except to increase revenue.

As to 'ditch - no-ditch;' I suspect the commander had damn good reasons for the decision. Among other things, I suspect he bought the time to destroy the most sensitive stuff.

We should wait for more detail on that question.

5th Apr 2001, 05:13
While China is still a communist state its government appears to have no immediate ambitions for geographical expansion. This is unlike the Cold War period where the former USSR government needed such expansion for further economic resources in order to survive. The Chinese government started to realise in the early eightys that its brand of communism (Leninism tempered with Confucanism rather than "North Korea" type pure Marxism) would do better instead under a more open capitalistic market and at the same time could still retain iron-fisted control. Therefore the threat of a Chinese military expansion is quite low. However its in the nature of governments to survey those borders of countrys whos economic system is different from theirs. Thus a spy run on the Chinese navy's latest equipment is fully expected by both sides. The Chinese government knows it and the American government knows they know it. All this Chinese government posturing on this incident is completely normal and expected. What else do you expect them to say? All that would be needed is an apology from the US government and the incident would be immediately buried. But that would require some knowledge of Chinese culture on the Bush administrations part.
As far as Taiwan arms sales is concerned, its obvious to everyone (except politicians and arms manufacturers of course) that China wishes to avoid its own possible "Cuban missile crisis" in the future.

mr hanky
5th Apr 2001, 07:33
Further on ditching - the prop blades on the P-3 can separate on water impact and strike the fuselage. It's happened at least once before with fatal results, so I don't imagine the crew would've been too keen.

5th Apr 2001, 07:49
Wino, you raise some interesting points.

You say: "While they don't have the "right" to rip the aircraft apart. They will. It is how enemies treat each other. I guess that is what they want to be." Anyone who doesn't accept that despite MFN, attempts by the Chinese to join the WTO, all the ongoing Sino-US diplomatic doddle since Nixon's visit to China in 1972 and God only knows what went on behind the scenes in the Clinton years, the US and China are about as near to being enemies - (ok, let's be P.C. - 'adversaries') - as two nations get in this modern age without actually "lockin' an' loadin'".

It's always interesting to transpose the characters in dramas such as these. A Peoples' Liberation Army Air Force 'spy aircraft' diverts damaged to Hickham AFB, or even better, a west coast mainland US base whilst on an intelligence gathering sortie close to, but not within, American airspace. (I know, I know, my mythical made-in-China aircraft's got a fantastic range capability.) Are you seriously telling me the USAF and God knows what other US Government agencies wouldn't pick it to pieces? (And can you imagine the cries of outrage in the US media if it been damaged after hitting a USAF F15, possibly killing its pilot, Lt Charles 'Chuck' Buckeymeyer III, who we for sure would be told, was once an Eagle Scout and played quarterback for his mom-an'-apple-pie Norman Rockwell-esque midwest small town high school football team?) The crew wouldn't be "detained", they'd be "delayed in their return while requests among the crew for political asylum were being processed". Whatever, the Americans would make the Chinese sweat blood before surrendering any political advantage, if only to keep the outraged US voters happy.

"What they most certainly do NOT have the right to do is incarcerate that crew of 24 (including 3 women btw)." (My bold face.) It's your "including 3 women btw" comment I take exception to. If we in the West are going to use women in the military in roles that put them in harm's way, I'm sure the women currently serving in such jobs would be the first to object to their being classified any differently to the males. If, (and please God, it never comes to pass), we in the West ever do get involved in a major conflict with a nation like the PRC, I believe the sight of mangled female soldiers' bodies and photographs of severely distressed female POWs will be a weapon our adversaries will use to great effect in the truly sophisticated and subtle propaganda war that will be part and parcel of any such war. Whether such propaganda weakens the will of the US and/or European people at home or strengthens their resolve remains to be seen. It wouldn't be the first time a non-Western nation has misunderstood America, judging t to be weak because it doesn't follow the same social mores as other, more tradition-bound countries do. The Japanese made the mistake of crossing that ill-defined line of American sensitivities by trying to be a little bit too clever in 1941 in their surprise attack on Pearl Harbour. They ended up wearing two nukes on two of their major cities.

"We should have invaded Korea over the PUEBLO, but were distracted by Vietnam." I think the US tried that (invading North Korea) around 1951. It's not widely known, but the US learned a very similar lesson in Korea (or did they?) to the one they learned twenty years later slightly south of there. You don't fight a land war in Asia against a foe who doesn't have a free press and who's quite willing to sacrifice a whole generation of his young men, knowing that eventually he'll win by making the war unpalatable to the (free) US media and public rather than by defeating your troops on the ground. There were senior Americans in the Truman administration in the 40's who recognised this and said so before the US became involved in Korea.

"While I don't advocate invading China over this, I see no reason to continue trade or diplomatic relations." I concur wholeheartedly on both points you make there. (Please, George, don't imagine for one minute you can invade China!!!!) It might hurt the US economy to stop trade with China temporarily, (everything's temporary in politics), but it will hurt China a damn sight more. (Although you can bet that as usual, the French will leap to fill the void for China as much as possible.) And, the Chinese people will, as they've done for millennia, just tighten their belts and suffer whatever is thrown their way by their leaders. The US can get almost everything they buy from China from Mexico and other South American or Asian countries.

"I also think it is high time we stopped giving the cold shoulder to Taiwan and it is time to treat Taiwan like the democratic ally that they are and stop appeasing the chinese." Couldn't agree more. It's a damn disgrace the way the US (and other Western countries) have dumped Taiwan diplomatically just to get their foot into the PRC market Morally, the US and other Western countries should recognise the democratically-elected government - and nation - of Taiwan. But morals paly next to no part in politics or diplomacy, (which might go a very long way towards explaining why Bill Clinton was such a success in the game.). The old guard in the PRC aren't the only faction vying for power in China. It's just that the other factions have to keep a rather low profile, for being a member of the Opposition in China can have a rather detrimental - and terminal - effect on your health.

Maybe it's time the US tried a little brinkmanship - but on the diplomatic, rather than the military front. Send the PRC a clear message , without rattling any sabres, that they're not dealing with Bill Clinton any more. Recognise Taiwan as a sovereign nation. The vast majority of the Taiwanese people were born after 1949, when the old Koumintang forces set themselves up on the island. While many would love to become a part of China again, I believe there would be few who would want to a part of China under its present regime. That would give the Chinese diplomats something other than the damaged P3 to talk about - and talk, real talk, not posturing, is what is needed now.

WS Churchill said it better than anyone: "Jaw jaw beats war war every time."

5th Apr 2001, 08:11
Actually I take a slightly different view out of Korea than you.

I view it as the beginnings of micromanagement of a war by the whitehouse that ultimately lead to the silliness of the Lyndon Johnson Vietnam war.

I think as long as we fought a war of maneuver (our strengths) in Korea we were wildly successful. Once we bogged down to a political line (the 38th parallel) and then just hunkered down in the trenches in strong defensive postures and machine gunned the human waves of chinese we played to their strenghths. All because we were afraid of widening the war.

Macarthur should have been allowed to bomb the manchurian bases. If they could have reached ours they would have.

I only believe in two modes for war. All or nothin. Attempting to minimalize or sanitize war just makes it more palitable and more likely to be dragged out. When Its time to put away the diplomats and take out the soldiers, LET THE SOLDIERS DO THEIR THING.

I agree that the chinese will take the airplane apart. I just want everyone to remember that the Chinese are our enemies not our advesaries, and stop kidding them selves, and certainly stop rushing to export jobs and cash to them.

I do not believe that if the rolls were reversed that we would have held the crew for DAYS without allowing them any contact with their embassy. Infact I think we would have the crew back in the embassy in a matter of hours. We would most likely pick the airplane apart, but maybe not. The chinese don't have too much that is revolutionary or that is scaring us like the MIG25 did when it defected to Japan. That plane had been the bogey man for the better part of a decade. When it turned out to be a piece of crap, a lot of sighs of relief were heard around the world <G>...


5th Apr 2001, 09:21

The true 'hot potatoe' in the area is the oil fields underlying the Spratly islands. Expansionist - you'd better believe it.

It's not about oil extraction, it's about oil control. In a few years, China will be facing an oil crisis similar to the resolve of Japan, prior to the war.

Viet Nam was about off-shore oil control & drugs. Anyone with a sense of history will appreciate the fact that the Vietnamese would have been better off under communism than under the corrupt leadership which has always prevailed in Viet Nam. There was no idealism except in the form of U.S. propaganda.

The Chinese have missile capability that doesn't speak to domestic maintenance and defense. This could get nasty. China needs the domestic propaganda of backing down the U.S.; Taiwan is next.

Unfortunately, the U.S. doesn't have the military ability it needs to cover the Middle East & the Pacific. This is a free ride for China.

The crew could be in for a long stay.

5th Apr 2001, 10:13
Just thought I'd respond to a couple of comments by 'dv8' and 'Mr Hanky', I'm reasonably well qualified on the P3, I have just under 6,000 hours on them, over 10 years, with 7 years maintenance on them prior to that!
The P3 does have night vision, it has what is known as IRDS, infra red, good for around 12 miles in total darkness. It hangs from a pod built into the bottom of the nose radome, and is retracted when not in use, it's very good, using it's auto tracking system, to ident. ships or aircraft otherwise totally hidden in the dark, it can also use it to approach runways under similar conditions.
Also, even though the most recent ditching event that I'm aware of caused the death of one crewmember, the reason for it was known prior, and was widely advertised by the USN, the #2 prop comes off and, because of it's direction of rotation, slams into the fuselage at 1021rpm, it's very heavy, even with those aluminium blades, and caused a death within. So the fix was to feather that prop, takes around 3secs, just prior to impact! (Can be feathered with or without electrical power available!)

As far as I can see from the photos of the aircraft on the ground, as well as the newspaper and TV coverage, the only damage was the loss of the radome, the #1 prop (and probably engine) damage, and the minor damage to the outboard underside of one of the flaps, I can't understand why the Captain elected to land at all, afterall, the P3 can easily fly on 2 engines (and often does) depending on it's AUW - my point here is that all this relatively minor damage
was not what caused the Captain to head for Chinese territory, there had to be other factors involved, like maybe the other (or both, if the F-8 ditching didn't happen) fighter firing warning shots to indicate what would happen if he didn't!
The P3 is an excellent aircraft for what it does, and is very well built, evidenced by some P3B's, built in 1968, still in service around the world.
I'd be happy to respond to any questions
regarding the P3 from anyone, no guarantees, but I will try to explain if I can.

The Guvnor
5th Apr 2001, 10:15
It seems that the Pentagon keeps files on every military pilot flying worldwide as the claim that Wang Wei was 'well known' to them as being a 'dangerous pilot'.

Pity they don't know their own people as well! :) :)

From today's Daily Telegraph

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">THE Chinese fighter pilot presumed dead after a mid-air collision with a US
spy plane had flown dangerously close to American aircraft before and was
known as a hazard, Pentagon officials said last night.

Wang Wei, a naval officer who is thought to have
ejected from his F-8 jet before it hit the sea, has
been blamed by Washington for the weekend
collision that has triggered a potential crisis in
US-Sino relations. A Bush administration official
said that Wang had been photographed by
cameras mounted on American spy planes as he
flew within feet of them.

He said: "We have photos of pilots' faces. It was
not the first time this individual had been that close
to an aircraft. The number of intercepts and their
aggressiveness has increased in recent weeks." The
allegation seemed certain to heighten tensions. Chinese state media had
already begun to laud the pilot as a hero martyred by reckless American

Striking a more conciliatory note, Gen Colin Powell, the Secretary of State,
said: "We regret that the Chinese plane did not get down safely and we regret
the loss of the life of that Chinese pilot. But now we need to bring this to a
resolution. We are using every avenue available to us to talk to the Chinese
side to exchange explanations and move on."

Although this stopped short of an apology,
as China has demanded, the Chinese
embassy in Washington said it was "a step
in the right direction". American diplomats
were trying to assess whether they could
draft a form of words that would be

Angry exchanges between the two countries had intensified earlier yesterday,
the fourth day of the stand-off over Beijing's decision not to release the
24-member crew of the EP-3 Aries spy plane, which made a forced landing
on the militarised Hainan island, off southern China. Tang Jiaxuan, the Chinese
foreign minister, accused America of having an "arrogant air".

Jiang Zemin, the president, said that Washington "should bear all
responsibilities for the collision incident" and added: "The US side should
apologise to the Chinese people." The White House ruled that out. Ari
Fleischer, President Bush's spokesman, said: "The United States government
does not understand the reason for an apology.

"Our airplane was operating in international air space and the crew did nothing
wrong." In the last minutes before the collision, technicians on the EP-3 were
likely to have been able to monitor Wang's radio transmissions to and from
Hainan, as well as any conversations he had with the pilot of the jet
accompanying him.

Blaming Wang for the collision, Washington said: "There is no question which
aircraft collided with which." The four-engine subsonic turboprop EP-3 had
been flying "straight and level" while the jet was manoeuvring at supersonic
speed. This was "not a great match for flying formation" and while the collision
had been unintentional "it was not an accident that they were that close".

Pentagon sources said that Chinese pilots were poorly trained and frequently
made mistakes while flying. But the jets had continued to conduct aggressive
close intercepts despite repeated American requests not to. A source quoted
by the Washington Times said: "Lately we saw some unsafe flying practices
coming within 30ft. This was more like flying cowboys . . . If anything goes
wrong, that's not a lot of room for correction."

By yesterday China had sent 48 planes and 29 ships to search for Wang.
President Bush has resisted apologising because the collision took place in
international air space and was not the fault of the EP-3. The nose cone, part
of a wing and one of the EP-3's four engines were sheared off by the jet. It
took the pilot five minutes to regain control.

It was not known how many of the "emergency destruction" procedures had
been followed in the 20 minutes it took to land on Hainan, from where Wang
had taken off. The Pentagon claimed that crew members "successfully
executed" the destruction of spy material even though their lives were in

But Adml Joseph Prueher, ambassador to Beijing, conceded that the Chinese
would have been able to gain access to highly sensitive and top secret

Ignition Override
5th Apr 2001, 11:04
Interesting reading up there! Well done!

Just some questions. Refering to some earlier remarks, why should President Bush, or any other president/prime minister etc in any country, apologize for the careless, tragic mistake of an over-aggressive fighter pilot, after he approaches a transport/patrol/recon plane at a much higher speed?

When citizens of the Peoples' Republic of China fly on a Canadian, British, Japanese, American...widebody airliner and the crew must NOW deal with a serious, possibly compound emergency (more serious than just one engine failure/shutdown) which "jeopardizes the continued operation" etc, would the passengers be surprised if the Captain and crew conclude that the only safe decision is to land at the nearest suitable airport, if that is company policy and good judgement?

Never mind the enormous support China (under a very different govt) received from the US (and others) during a major world conflict decades ago, while terrorized by an unbelievably cruel foreign occupation force. They "forgot" back around 1949, even more "forgetful" in 1951. Ignorance, along with total govt control of the mass media, is bliss.

[This message has been edited by Ignition Override (edited 05 April 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Ignition Override (edited 05 April 2001).]

5th Apr 2001, 12:51
Must take my hat off for such an honest reply. Unusual these days....

5th Apr 2001, 15:12
Hate to ruin a comfortable and comforting historical recollection, Ignition Override... BUT, as for the ChiComs 'forgetting' in '49 and '51 all the 'help' Uncle Sam gave them during the war against Japan, (which started for them in 1931, not 1941, as it did for the US), the sad truth is they had very few reasons to thank the US. Why? Because Chiang Kai Chek (spelling?) and his Chinese Nationalists had spent a lot more time and effort right through WW2 killing fellow Chinese - ie the Communists - with the huge amount of military equipment and aid the Americans had given him than he ever spent killing Japanese. If any of this US aid reached the communists, it was thanks only to the corruption or ineptitude of Nationalist commanders.

Not sure if the same thing happened in China, but it's probably also worth noting that the Brits, who were first of the Allies to arrive in Indo China after WW2, re-armed the Japanese and used them against Ho Chi Minh's revolutionary forces until the French colonial forces arrived to retake their three Indo Chinese colonies. The Indo Chinese revolutionaries, mostly communist, had a liberal sprinkling of American OSS officers serving with them until the end of WW2, which must have made for some interesting conflicts of loyalties for the Americans after the Brits arrived in late '45 and re-armed the hated Japanese.

I'm in no way an apologist for the Communist Chinese or the Vietnamese. The press is tightly controlled in both countries and their long-suffering people are much put upon and fed a very self-serving version of the truth by both governments. But any fair-minded person would have to accept that the communist governments in both countries have a lot of facts on their side and genuine reasons for feeling more than a little aggrieved towards the West, and the US in particular. I know the aircraft involved in the current crisis didn't infringe Chinese territory, but many, many times in the past, CIA U2s did, and not always with impunity. I've seen a photograph of the wreckage of five reassembled U2s that the Chinese put together in one hangar or field to prove these overflights occurred.

On a lighter note, at a guess, I'd say Tom Clancy has cancelled all appointments and as we speak, is churning out the first draft of his next novel based on this incident. Unfortunately, we don't have Jack Ryan in the real White House - but I think it would have been a really interesting scenario if the recently departed Slick gentleman from Arkansas (or his ex VP) had been in place when something like this had happened. I tend to agree with Roc - the US State Department would've been falling over itself apologising and making instant amends to the Chinese.

Getting back to Tom Clancy, I understand he does meticulous research in compiling the military toys his heroes use in his books. If that's so, anyone who's read his latest offering, 'The Bear and the Dragon', will be hoping he hasn't been too accurate in the way he painted the Chinese Politburo, 'cause if the picture he painted of these old gentlemen is anywhere even remotely near the truth, we're all in for some, (as the old Chinese curse says), very 'interesting times'.

edited for typos

[This message has been edited by Wiley (edited 05 April 2001).]

5th Apr 2001, 15:56
I think that the West generally and the US in particular worries too much about doing and being seen to do the "right thing" and therefore risks, by inevitably being taken advantage of, having to take even more drastic action in the end than would have been necessary in the first place.
I have just finished reading an article in the 12/11/00 edition of the New Yorker about our friend Saddam. I would recommend it for its lack of bias and sagacity.
They should have finished what they started in Desert Storm.
Likewise 99.9.% of the Chinese population are, as always, only going to get and as a matter of necessity and pragmatism follow the "party line" and if you have read any of the recent "life" stories by the expat Chinese children of the last war and the pre and prior history, the ingrained nature of the Chinese mainlander is clear.

Today is all that matters.
So, what is expedient today is the truth.
Therefore the truth can be whatever is expedient.
The fabled "inscrutability" is just that, it is really a front for "there is actually nothing going on behind the eyes beyond how to get the advantage/meal for today".

You can frame it any way you like the fact is, the modern world, for better or worse, was invented by western civilisation and culture. It looks forward and has learn't the hard way that rhetoric and mind control as a means of running a civilisation is ultimately self destructive. You do not have the resources and cannot hope to perform prefrontal lobotomies on the entire population, therefore the race is lost before you even start.

Again you can frame it any way you like, but IMHO, mainland China is essentially a third world country that only has the world presence that it has, due to its sheer size and weight of population.

Having said that there are many highly educated Chinese who have much to offer the world and their mainland brethren.
They are the real future of the mainland, but they will have to sacrifice many of their western comforts in the short term to advance their brethrens situation.
Where are the Tien an Men students today, and how many are carrying on that glorious example of independant thought and action they showed the world.
Who could ever forget that student facing down the tank.
Ozmate gave all of the students down here who professed support, refugee status, amnesty and citizenship, I would love to know many are continuing "the struggle" and how many have succumbed to the siren call of western decadence.
They are the ones who can make the "old men" of any of which ever regime happen to be in power accountable and stop the excreta and posturing that passes for statesmanship.
I suspect, however, that the habit of generations of looking after oneself will mitigate that ever happening.

Send in the Marines, secure and fly the crew and aircraft out. Recognise Taiwan as a Sovereign State, line up an couple of carrier battle fleets and call their bluff.

They will find the same result as Ronnie did with the Russians.

Or am I simple too.

5th Apr 2001, 16:20

History has little meaning in events such as this - period.

The Chinese have their latitude to pick a fight in many arenas. Therefore, why the mess over this aircraft?

It is highly probable that the U.S. had an intense focus on some aspect of Chinese activities, which the Chinese, naturally, wanted to protect. This event was a unique buildup in a specific location; not a random event.

Between Chinese advances in military and space missile programs, the U.S. has a keen interest in military espionage. The target of that espionage can only be speculated. The confidence of the Chinese military may have been cause to monitor Chinese Naval communications, etc. Taiwan is certainly always the topic of the day for the Chinese.

One must remember that China is a military government on its best day. Hence, military priorities - including cash flow - will be observed.

Despite stated intent, the Chinese are way ahead of the U.S. in economic advantage in the trade arena - thanks to Clinton.

The current time frame gives the Chinese the best opportunity for a victory over the U.S. and an excuse to leverage better cash flow to their advantage.

The U.S. commercial dependency on Chinese goods is high, therefore, business interests are pressuring Washington, as well - not to the political or military advantage of the USA.

If the current Chinese government can gain even this one victory over the U.S., they will be in power for the next ten years - minimum. There's a lot at stake here.

The best trend indicator is any Naval / Air Force movement in the Pacific. If anybody has the resources, keep an eye on that arena.

5th Apr 2001, 17:34
Don't know that Clancy is the guy that I would look to for the key to the U.S. versus anybody question, but they sure are some good books sometimes. A previous post notes that Clancy researches his work real well. One of the people that helped him research in the past is an engineer that writes as a team under the name Larry Bond. If you think Clancy has some nifty descriptions of toys and tactics you haven't read Bond. And no, I don't get a piece of the action on his sales, though I do know him.

5th Apr 2001, 17:52
Hopefully, this will all work itself out shortly. If the EP-3 was damaged and in distress, I think, regardless of fault, China should not inspect the A/C. However, the same should be same if the roles were reversed. It is different if the arrival of an A/C is due to defection.

At a minimum China should return the crew-O.K. keep the A/C-that stings, but it is really not what is important, is it?

The U.S. "capitalist" machine is money driven. As a capitalist myself I have no problem with that. However, I feel over the last 10 years, the U.S. has deluded itself as to what China is or a least can be. It is a functioning superpower with a potent military, with xenophbic leadership (actually or apparently)- but the U.S. has been salivating over it as the worlds largest market- think profits. I daresay if you think the stock markets are hurting now, wait until we walk away from or China nationalizes the investment in mainland China.

Finally- If China could spy on the U.S. in the same fashion they would- so no apology should be required. But if it takes an apology to square this away so be it. We'll just stick China later when we can.

5th Apr 2001, 18:02

When Janet Reno blocked the FBI from investigating the Chinese spy on the basis that to investigate a suspected Chinese spy was racism, China doesn't need aircraft.

China got their nuclear secrets; the case will be blown in the courts. In a similar fashion, another Chinese spy was allowed to cop a plea in exchange for dropping further investigation.

Can you imagine plea bargaining on an espionage charge???

Now, watch the Chinese immigration INCREASE into the U.S..

China doesn't need spy aircraft & satellites.

5th Apr 2001, 18:54
Quick question- Are the electronics and consoles inside the A/C fashioned so they can be destroyed easily? It makes sense to me that critical components should be removable quickly so as to hasten their destruction.

5th Apr 2001, 19:45

There are a number of destruction methods, depending on the components. Low-powered explosive charges may be used for the hard-core stuff, shredders for the paper, high-intensity magnetic coils for the recording media, etc. All the destructive stuff has to be fast-acting, as human hands obviously might not be fast enough.

This event may upgrade the destruction methods, as they barely had time to do anything, given the aircraft gyrations. We'll never know the truth on the destruction extent.

In retrospect, they would have done well to have an aircraft destruction method, also, such as a timed thermite grenade over a fuel tank.

Ignition Override
5th Apr 2001, 23:05
Wiley-those are excellent points (along with your others), some of which are described in two different books, "Flying the Hump", which describe the very dangerous airlift over Burma and the Himalayas, in order to supply western China. Very interesting reading-the flying (world's highest mountains+worst weather+huge Burmese jungle) was as dangerous as in the European skies.

Sadly, many of the weapons and gasoline etc were not used against the foreign enemy, which was the ultimate objective.

Bottoms Up!
6th Apr 2001, 00:37
KaptainKangaroo [quote] It's tough being the best I guess. [unquote]

Sure is. Please add to the follow list of Oscar winning performances:

Bombing range error in Kuwait; American sub sinks Jap tourist ship; two
F15s dent the Scottish scenery; Friendly (ha!) Fire in the Gulf Conflict
kills more British servicemen than the Iraqis [remember that old saying
'With America on our side, who needs enemies']; cruise missile
obliterates Chinese Embassy, supposedly (?) by mistake; Bulgaria zapped
by cruise missile in mistake for Serbian target ..... over many years the
list of American cock-ups has been long and seemingly endless. Why?

Mount a rescue mission, eh?. Couldn't even get that one right: how many
aircraft and men were lost in the Iranian desert?

As to handing out medals, why not? Instead of rotting in an Iranian
cell, the Captain of the USS Vincennes which shot down the Iran Air
Airbus was given a fat pension, a medal for aircraft recognition and now
enjoys a full life, something he denied to the innocent multi-national
passengers and crew of the civilian A300 on a regular scheduled flight
on a designated airway.


You've been watching too many Ronald Reagan movies :)

Favoured nation status? Perhaps Boeing will now have a few more empty
delivery positions as Chinese orders are switch elsewhere. Boeing
workers will sure thank George W for that.


I certainly would not trust any Red Cross worker. How do you think all
the 'accurate' GPS co-ordinates were obtained in Yugoslavia.


Perhaps another reason Europeans and others have a different attitude to
your way of thinking is that most of us disagree with your Government's
(of either party: they are all the same when in Power) rhetoric, blatant
arrogance, hypocrisy and economic greed. The US condemns (and even
bombs) Libya, but they happily import its oil, as long as the US gas
guzzling economy needs it.

The fact is American blunders of one kind or another happen all too
regularly, and we sure do enjoy hearing about them :)

God Bless America :) The entertainment capital of the world :)

6th Apr 2001, 01:43

It depresses me greatly to criticize the USA the way I do, but it's necessary to get the truth in perspective. Maybe, then, something might change. God know it desperately needs to. Granted, the U.S. doesn't have a monopoly on screwy politics and bungled events, but the guy in second place has a long way to catch up.

All these crashes of the U.S. military speak to drastic military non-preparedness; and a different sort of corruption, evidenced by the Osprey. Boeing will move to Dallas.

The U.S. is a culture obsessed with the syndrome of, "My personal power is greater than your personal power - or else." In general, Americans have no concept of results. Morality was outlawed, practically.

Go out on the Internet & look up "MPRI + Serbia," you'll see that Red Cross workers are the tip of the iceberg.

If the U.S. genuinely cared a damn about human rights, we'd have the greatest UN mission in history in Sierra Leone.

It's all for the American Dollar.

The crew on the aircraft have too little value, so the USA will negotiate. In the end, I suspect we'll get tough, but there will be a limit to it. If Bush apologized, Powell would walk in a flash. He's one of the few in the leadership worthy of respect. Glad he's on the job.

The treatment of the crew concerns me. The Chinese are not known for friendliness during interrogations.

I hope the U.S. at least comes to their senses on the topic of women in military threat environments. They are quite a liability right now.

6th Apr 2001, 03:42
Slasher, just to satisfy my curiosity, I got a question for you, seeing as how you're familiar with the neighbourhood so to speak. If the P3 was in the position shown when the intercept took place, how much farther was it to Haiphong? If I had my druthers, I think Viet Nam would have afforded a better welcome.

6th Apr 2001, 04:08
bottoms up,

i believe "envy" is one of the deadly sins.

6th Apr 2001, 04:21
Bottoms Up,

I would like to be able to defend the US against your attack

er Unfortunately I can't, every word you wrote is true, fair and accurate.


Angle of Attack
6th Apr 2001, 06:39
If the crew remains hostage for an extended period of time, do you think the U.S. would risk a rescue mission? I mean it would seem pretty remote to me but if the public pressure builds who knows what could happen. And if there was one, surely it would be very difficult to pull out 24 people especially from a chinese airbase. I suppose that would be seen as an act of war by the US against China.?

6th Apr 2001, 07:15
Angle of Attack,

Considering the number of US students in China [mostly Democrats I'd guess], the number of US business executives in China [mostly Republicans I'd guess], and the relative lack of Chinese citizens in the US who are not at least trying to get permanent residency, I find it unlikely that the US would be so stupid as to commit an act of war against China. But with the current crowd in Washington, I wouldn't put it beyond them.

[This message has been edited by Low_and_Slow (edited 06 April 2001).]

Tom the Tenor
6th Apr 2001, 12:24
No one yet has remembered the poor people in Italy who lost their lives on the ski-lift because of the bad airmanship displayed by reckless aviators of the U.S.M.C. when one of their EA-6B Prowlers flew away too low and cut through the ski-lift cable wire killing so many innocent people. As I recall the crew involved were eventually not even court-martialed by the Pentagon for their actions. Some world's Policeman is the USA!

6th Apr 2001, 12:46
What does Italy have to do with 24 hostages in China?

Tricky Woo
6th Apr 2001, 13:17
Bottoms Up! and Tom the Tenor,

Nice list of Oscars. I'd like to nominate the gang-rape of a 12 year old Japanese girl, by three US Marines in 1995, at Okinawa. The lads followed their gang-rape by an incompetent attempt to murder their victim to cover their tracks. Unfortunately for them, the 'mostly deadly fighting unit in the world' failed to kill the 60 pound girl.

However, justice was 'seen' to be done: the chaps were sentenced to seven years for their crimes. They'll be back on the streets sometime during 2002.

Relevence to this thread? Please do not think that any of the US Services have a particularly good reputation in China, Hong Kong, Japan or even Korea. Quite the opposite. The Taiwanese are probably warming to them, though.

Pom Pax
6th Apr 2001, 14:35
pigboat "If the P3 was in the position shown when the intercept took place"
There have been a number of occasions when missing US aircraft have been later proved not to have been where their owners originally reported them to be. Gary Powers was a long way from his first reported position and he was not returned all that quickly either. Further even if they were where the report says, Where were they previously?.
Lastly it took Maggie a week to get her Vulcan back from Rio and the landing fee was the confiscation of the unused missile and Brazil though neutral was a friendly power!

6th Apr 2001, 15:21
I hate to be the one to say it, but.....

Shall we simmer down on the Yank-baiting just a tad, chaps?

The litany of shameful episodes (Bombing range error in Kuwait; American sub sinks Jap tourist ship; two
F15s dent the Scottish scenery; Friendly (ha!) Fire in the Gulf Conflict
kills more British servicemen than the Iraqis [remember that old saying
'With America on our side, who needs enemies']; cruise missile
obliterates Chinese Embassy, supposedly (?) by mistake; Bulgaria zapped by cruise missile in mistake for Serbian target, the poor people in Italy who lost their lives on the ski-lift because of the bad airmanship displayed by reckless aviators of the U.S.M.C.) is wearing a bit thin - every nation has rogue citizens, who do things which are a matter for shame and regret. US Marines in Okinawa - how about British Squaddies in Cyprus? Or how about Suez? Or how about our own friendly fire incidents? My point isn't that we Brits are just as bad, it's that this kind of micro detail is an irrelevant distraction.

I can see the appeal in having a bit of a laugh at the righteous (and hypocritical) indignation being expressed by Dubya over the non-return of the airplane, but let's not forget that its crew are being held hostage for conducting a legal, legitimate sigint mission in international waters. Moreover, that mission was flown by our closest ally against a totalitarian regime which has often been an enemy, and which is contemptuous of most of the values which we hold dear.

And for the whingeing Americans...
Espionage is a shabby game, and you must expect the rules to be broken. Your aeroplane was damaged by an accident, and not shot down (that's progress in this shadowy world) and the crew are alive. If China rips the EP-3E apart, keeps it, puts it in their aviation magazine, then I'm afraid that's just the way this game goes. But the crew, of course, should be released.

6th Apr 2001, 16:39

It might be worth your time to review such events as the U.S attempted (botched) rescue of the hostages in Iran - including the CIA gun deal.

Waco is more typical of hostage situations for the USA.

6th Apr 2001, 17:00

Looking at the video account of the surviving Chinese pilot's report brings a question to mind -

"How did the EP-3 manage to do that maneuver without lowering a wing?"

The damage to the trailing edge attests to the impact pattern - from the stern. That asumes that the EP-3 doesn't have the ability to go into reverse thrust in flight.

For my money, the Chinese have embarassed themselves, badly.

Maybe they took lessons from TWA-800.

1. The reddish traces of PETN (U.S. solid rocket motor fuel) are indicative of a bomb dog test conducted while the aircraft was headed to Honolulu.

2. The entry hole in the right front & exit hole on the left side are coincidence.

3. The supposed ignition source couldn't happen, as the fuel sensor temperature-compensating circuitry would burn out first. Only one of the fuel probes, out of eight, received the voltage.

4. Nearly two hundred witnesses to the missile must have been mistaken, having observed the CIA generated illusion.

5. Etc.

6th Apr 2001, 19:09
Can we also have a (dis)honourable mention for the crew member of the EA-6B who destroyed the evidence of their magic carpet ride.

Yes yank bashing is in vogue but when was it out of fashion? they give us good reason to be cynical, special mention for the CIA's involvement in Lockerbie (who doesnt believe they were up to their asses in that little mess, but luckly had enemy de jour to carry the can)

And by the way how many "up yer airbus" threads have been started and fuelled by our cousins over the years. do we take that as european bashing? (actualy we take that as froggie bashing -excuse my french :) which is somehow aceptable- why i dont know)

OK, 24 aircrew held thats bad, but these things happen and should continue to happen http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif and i'll tell you for why, 1st i would be absolutly totaly amazed if anything bad happens to them, but GWB now knows where china is and who leads it, and he also knows that they are not to be taken lightly and that servicemens lives are precious on all sides. maybe that will give him pause at sometime in the future.

which idiot suggested invading china? you sir, are you thinking of running for elected office on the end of the world ticket for that is surely what you will create. it is also exactly why sane people tend to take the p!ss out of yanks.

And while im on this rant you do know that there is a department in the pentagon devoted to misinformation dont you? (who doesnt think that there's a ppruner amongst them). http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif

We can all think back to few incident where the facts officialy stated turned out not to be even adjacent to the truth eh... lets pick panama as nobodys mentioned that one up to now but from us brits we could also go belgrano, the list is long and illustrious from all sides of the politial spectrum.

sorry, i almost forgot "F16 pilot cleared of blame over collision" whos responsibility is it to avoid the accident? :rolleyes:

Remember, never believe anything until its officialy denied oh, and if it comes to destroying evidence or classified information for god sake RTFI... fast!


[This message has been edited by RogerTangoFoxtrotIndigo (edited 06 April 2001).]

6th Apr 2001, 19:42
Whilst the commercial arm of the Red Army owns so much of Miami beach front property and lots of other bits of the USA, a war is very unlikely how ever far Bush goes. Yes they do have one and it it is very rich and powerful.

If war does break out between the US and China and Americans looking for somewhere safe should go to Miami. The Red Army are unlikely to attack that part of the US and damage all the property they own.

ickle black box
6th Apr 2001, 19:45
SKYDRIFTER, Have you got an html link you can put up here, or document you can paste into the thread, to continue your points/arguement over the TWA800 accident. I'd be interested in reading it.


6th Apr 2001, 20:25
I find this thread embarrassing, literally shameful in parts. Yank baiting is certainly in vogue - but why??

The United Staes has been our closest ally for most of the last century or so. The nearest bits of Europe, France, Germany, Belgium Spain, Italy etc have either been on the other side, or, having got themselves into a jingoistic pickle, have required the help of both ourselves and the USA to pull their chestnuts out of the fire.
The East? Eastern Europe ? A collection of totalitarian corruption based regimes, that oppress and execute their own citizens - these are the guys daring to criticise US for OUR treatment of THEIR fleeing refugees!

The Middle East? Another collection of totalitarian regimes, this time fundamentally based in religious beliefs, murdering and bombing each other over who owns which piece of oil rich real estate. The one and only democracy out there, Israel, is once again perceived as the bad guy, although it is the only freely elected government in the area, and the only country which has actually developed any of the desert based countryside.
The far East? More totalitarian regimes, communism, poverty and death - with the exception of Japan which has made a valiant and praiseworthy effort to learn from history instead of repeating it. Sure there are others, Singapore, South Korea which are expanding well, but try slagging off their Governments in a public place, and then see if you can obtain bail!

I could go on in a geopolitical tour around the world. But for Christ's sake, America is probably the best meaning Country in the world. It is the one which every one else goes to for handouts, it genuinely tries to help, to do what it thinks is best on moral and ethical grounds most of the time, accompanied by the breast beating and hair rending that is the sign of a free democracy. Sure, it makes some mistakes, but it doesn't cause the death of millions of its citizens - The Great Leap Forward, The Cultural Revolution,the Second World War, The Korean War (hmm, seem to remember China in that one) The Killing Fields, The Gulag, The Balkans, the Gulf.......I could go on and on.

Does anyone here seriously think we would have won the Falklands without America. Or the Gulf war? Or even the Balkan conflict. Agree or disagree with the motives behind American and British involvement these conflicts, they were shiny and pure compared to the motives of the people who started them. Compare as well the amount of guys who actually did the business there. It came down, as ever, to the Brits and the Americans. If I was American though, I would be asking why the majority of the front line stuff, the intelligence, the bodies on the ground, the hi-tech equipment was all provided by themselves, with a very small sharp end contribution from the UK. The rest of them - don't make me laugh.

This is very unfashionable stuff, I grant you. It is very easy to criticise from a safe distance. Sure, the CIA probably isn't whiter than white, just like the SIS. But I know who I'd rather be dealing with if it came to a choice between them and the KGB, or the equivalent service in China. America at least TRIES to do the right thing. I feel ashamed to be English reading some of the jealous, biased vindictive claptrap here.

Any military pilots out there. How many of you have been involved in tactical low level fast jet flying? Well it's not quite like operating the morning London Shuttle, or a long haul flight to JoBurg. Accidents happen, and while I don't pretend its ideal, to slag off the USArmed Forces is plain ignorant. I don't recall seeing the same harassment of the RAF crew who took out a cottage in the Lake District last year.

I must stop this, I doubt I'm doing any good anyway. Do stop to think though, just for a moment, whether ANY of you at all think you would be in your comfortable piece of suburbia, your comfortable house, lifestyle and job had it not been for the United Staes of America involvement both in joining in to the last Great War, having a majority share in winning it, a majority share in keeping Western Europe free during the Cold War, and maybe most significant of all, funding the Marshall Plan to rebuild another continent while all the people resident on that continent(from the Alps to the Urals) could think of was stripping it of its assets.

When you are dealing with the forces of evil (to be even more unfashionable) you can't always stay clean, in the open air on a white charger. Sometimes its necessary to get down in the slime, in the dirt where the evil lives, and its a tad difficult to appear squeaky clean when you're doing that.

For Christ's sake, give them a break. They're on OUR side - or at least, they were till you lot started.

6th Apr 2001, 20:32
well guys,

its nice to know who your friends are in a time of crisis. i will not bother with the laundry list of mistakes and bad judgement of the various european countries represented on this board. its not worth my time. i'm sure that our laundry list is a bit longer than yours as our military is a little larger than yours.

what i have learned from the enlightening posts here is that it is our fault that our servicemen are being held hostage by communist china. not only that, we had it comin'.

nice talking to you chaps. i have really had my eyes opened about the true attitudes of our european "friends". england shows lots of love when it benefits them either economically or otherwise (when they're being invaded).

[This message has been edited by LMD (edited 06 April 2001).]

6th Apr 2001, 20:43
&gt;&gt;I find this thread embarrassing, literally shameful in parts. Yank baiting is certainly in vogue - but why??&lt;&lt;

Hey, when you're number one, everyone else is jealous... As always, the next thread will be on how to get a green card &lt;g&gt;.

Americans don't lose too much sleep about what goes on in the UK or Canada. I'm sure none of my neighbors could name the prime minister of Canada for example. However Canadians and Brits are absolutely obsessed with American politics and culture as evidenced by the previous posts in this thread.

Indeed, it is hard to be humble when you're one of the chosen few to be born in the promised land!

6th Apr 2001, 20:49
For those of you adding IRRELEVANT Anti-Yank remarks- GROW UP!

The time when England was associated with Gentlemen, politeness and courtesy is sadly over.

6th Apr 2001, 20:58

In this case, America, is if anything, to be commended. The Chinese do not have anything but the Chinese agenda to offer the world. With the potential for a nuclear attack, China is to be genuinely feared. Therefore, the spying is necessary and the U.S. is doing the world a favor.

In the background is Clinton's facilitation of the Chinese nuclear and missile development, however.

While the USA has a prideful history and still has much to offer, any intelligent American can cite more corruption than justice. The trend is getting worse. If the world isn't made aware of that, the power corruption is guaranteed to run away. Every person holding the U.S. accountable is necesssary. You have to go past the headlines.

I'm a Viet Nam veteran who learned the hard way what the American agenda was. That 'war' had nothing to do with human rights and battled communism only by coincidence. Check out the military-industrial complex ownership. It was billions of tax dollars for Texas. Does that sound familiar???? You're going to see it again. Check out the CURRENT ownership of the military-space-industrial complex. Boeing will move to Dallas.

Getting back to the subject, it's now appropriate to hold the Chinese accountable.

6th Apr 2001, 21:11
sky drifter,

"any intelligent American can cite more corruption than justice."

this is a rediculous statement. the corruption gets the news, the justice does not. i am not naive enough to think that the U.S. is completely innocent in everything but i do believe that we are basically a good people who make occasional mistakes. let the those without sin cast the first stone. if you do the right thing 99% of the time and screw up 1%, what do you think is going to get the headlines?

you sound like you are comparing china's human rights record with the U.S.'s. if this is the case then you are completely off base.

6th Apr 2001, 21:29
I was about to agree that the Yank baiting has gone far enough. What kind of image do you people think this nonsense projects to the general public about British professionals?

Then Airbubba wades in with the sort of garbage that dangles the worm.

As for Wino's solution to the problem.... Speechless!

6th Apr 2001, 21:29
Why do you folks in the UK have to slam americans? you guy's should be happy your not speaking German!!!!!! next time have the French bail you out Again.
Land of the Free!!
Oh yea who cares about the Red Army.

6th Apr 2001, 21:36
I have personally been embarrassed by some of the anti-American rantings on this thread, but if there's one thing worse than an envious European anti-American, it's the kind of red-necked, slack-jawed, introspective ultra-right wing American who provokes such prejudice. Glad some of them could join us.

LMD: "England shows lots of love when it benefits them either economically or otherwise (when they're being invaded)."

Our support of America usually ends up costing us either money or European friends. Your help has never been timely enough to be of any use 'when we're being invaded' (the last time that happened was 1066). Both world wars were already being won by the time you lot joined them. But we support you when it's the right thing to do, not just out of self interest.

Oh, and LeArn when to usE caPitaL letters, you morOn. you don' deserve no politeness or courTesy.

Airbubba: "Americans don't lose too much sleep about what goes on in the UK or Canada. I'm sure none of my neighbors could name the prime minister of Canada for example." I hope you won't be offended if I suggest that this may a reflection on middle-America's self-obsessed insularity. It's hardly something to be proud of, I'd have thought.

"However Canadians and Brits are absolutely obsessed with American politics and culture as evidenced by the previous posts in this thread." Could it not be that we're just better-educated (when it comes to the wider world) and more interested in the world around us. We realise that things happen outside London, Manchester, Toronto and Montreal, whereas I often wonder if many Americans know or care about what goes on outside their fine nation.

AJ: Might I politely take you to task over your accusation? (That: "The time when England was associated with Gentlemen, politeness and courtesy is sadly over.") You may regard it as unfortunate that you live in the UK, but some of us regard it as a pleasant place to live, on the whole, and I personally would wish to disagree with you most forcefully. If you don't mind me saying so.

6th Apr 2001, 21:47

did you call me a moron? i actually thought that you were one of the reasonable ones here. sorry my lack of capitol letters has upset you so. deal with itand lay off the sauce. by the way, i am glad to hear that you had WWII all rapped up. i am not sure why we wasted hundreds of thousands of american lives. what a waste. i guess the majority of those tomb stones on normandy beach have brit names? you know, you complain because america gets involved too much in world politics but then you complain that we didnt jump in soon enough. make up your mind, MORON. how are those capital letters for you?
i know hundreds of brits, and everyone is extremely nice and pleasant to me. some i consider to be very good friends. but since the majority on here are rude and bitter, i can only assume that you dont have the balls to tell me to my face how you really feel about me.

[This message has been edited by LMD (edited 06 April 2001).]

6th Apr 2001, 21:49
You must not forget you come from a rock almost the size of Calif. and as you make a good point that lot's of Yank's are stupid. but remember we have all the money and all the gun's. so yes we can be stupid

6th Apr 2001, 22:05
BP ol buddy we are not all anti American over here, our neighbours are the French and they seem to detest us. Sure we are happy we don't speak German but lets face it we paid good cash and a number of military bases for that help. At the end of the day we are the only country in the world that the USA can rely on for solid support.

Agaricus bisporus
6th Apr 2001, 22:15
It seems to me theres a surprising lack of objectivity here. Forget Yank-bashing, it's fun and frequently deserved but NOT HERE.

There are various versions of what happened, and we may never know the details, why should we, we're not entitled to secret military intelligence after all, are we?

China is the worlds most militarised nation and is rearming as re-developing its forces at a dramatic pace. It is very close indeed to true nuclear ICBM capability. Their standing army is measured in MILLIONS! China also has one of the worlds worst human rights records, and has within the last generation perpetrated one of the worlds largest and most brutal genocides ever. China is a very dangerous and unpredicrtable lose canon on the worlds stage.

One of Chinas biggest bugaboos is Taiwan, formerly a part of the "Peoples Republic" (an oxymoron if ever there was one)but now a true independant republic supported very much by the West, and USA in particular. The Chinese have always refused to accept the independance of Taiwan and have repeatedly made it clear that they intend to take it back, by force if necessary. That is a pretty unequivocal position. They have repeatedly carried out extremely aggressive and ambiguous military "exercises" near Taiwan, including the recent launch of a nuke capable missile over Taiwan, which scared some folks in the Pentagon pretty bad. I say agan, they intend to take Taiwan by force if necessary, and sooner or later they will try. Believe it.

Up until now they have not had the moxie to do that, the power of the US military was too great to risk it. Now with the Wests military status and political will at a low, and their nukes, missiles and Navy at an all time high they may get to that dangerous position where a nation with a proven contempt for western values, the UN, anyone elses national sovereignty and human decency in general may try to pull off a flyer. Thats a bit like Germany was under Herr Schickelgruber in 1937, Saarland and all that.

Knowing that the US carrier forces are their biggest conventional hazard they have just recieved two of the meanest cruisers the Sovs ever built, Sovrenminiy class(or similar speling..). They have 2 more coming. These little darlings pack huge supersonic anti ship missiles that are almost impossible to detect, let alone stop. This class of ship was designed specifically by the Sovs to take out CVNs - the big US carriers. And soon China will have4 of them. There is no need on God's earth for those missiles except to sink 100,000 ton carriers, and only one nation has those. So why do you suppose China bought those very costly ships?

Thus it is hardly surprising that the E3 was paying very close attention to one of those ships (in international waters and airspace, where both were entitled to be)inorder to ascertain its capabilities and equipment, as any prudent future victim would do. The most credible scenario I have seen suggests the E3 flying low and slow around the cruiser, intercepted very aggressively by two fighters and effectively kidnapped by them, forced to comply as they had made their intentions to shoot otherwise well known. The E3 put out a Mayday at this point, as well it might. That action by the Chinese (if true) came pretty close to an act of War.

No doubt the E3 made little effort to keep up, and with the red mist down one of the "Republics" "finest" got too close, too slow and either departed/stalled and collided, or collided and stalled. Being at low level the result was predictable.

There seems little doubt that China is 100% in the wrong for causing the incident by kidnappind a foreign aircraft in international airspace, but the big worry is how much of a leg-up they have got by grabbing all that technology and computers. They will soon know exactly what the US can see/hear and thus work out countermeasures.

And if China continues on its aggressive and bellicose policy towards Taiwan as well as other places those countermeasures may be critical if the US navy is to avoid a disaster that would make Pearl Harbour look like a small boating accident.

After the carriers have gone, or been scared so far away as to be useless, what do you suppose George Dubya would have left to prevent the invasion of Taiwan with? Baseball bats?

And how would China reply?

This is a pretty serious scenario, speculative maybe but based on hard facts, if you doubt it ask yourself why China needs those bloody great anti ship missiles. There is only one answer.

To my mind the scary question is not why, but when?

6th Apr 2001, 22:16
I'ts folks like you who give lot's of people in the U.S.A want and need to walk the earth and kill bad people to protect your Flag. not the jerks like Jacko!!

6th Apr 2001, 22:24

I hear you.

You are entitled to your opinion; I have mine. I have modified my profile to avoid any unintentional offence.


6th Apr 2001, 22:26
thanks PA7,

you sound more like the many brits that i call my friends. i am not asking for the english to bow down and kiss our feet. helping out our friends in times of trouble is what it is all about. and yes you are correct. the UK is usually the first to jump to our side when we need your help. this is why i was so surprised by many of the comments on this and other threads. i thought the french were your enemy:~)

6th Apr 2001, 22:26

I have the balls to tell you to your face what I think of you. I think you've posted some pretty outrageous anti-British and anti-European sentiments - probably unintentionally - while criticising others for being anti-American. But I've also got the balls to apologise for moron. I'm sure it's just your style. I'm sure you're a charming chap. And I won't even mention your occasional spelling lapses (joke!).

But the attitude that we "owe you for all you've done for us" is offensive and wrong-headed.

And the serious point is that this kind of 'big-headed', America-is-best, belittling attitudes which a particular type of American may come out with can cause the very hostility which you complain of. I'm fairly pro-American. I've urged a slackening of the anti-Americanism on this very thread. If I could live anywhere in the World, I'd probably pick the US Southwest for its beauty and its hospitable, laid back, charming people. I do love New York! I like most Americans - I find them kind, generous, well-meaning and (old fashioned word) decent. But even I can be provoked into rage by some of the attitudes expressed. And sometimes it's simple carelessness or lack of education that leads to these misunderstandings, rather than outright hostility or rudeness. Some, for example, would be infuriated by your reference to Normandy Beach - you're referring to Omaha, of course, where the losses were appalling, but the very fact that you refer to it in the singular could be taken as a lack of appreciation for what the Brits and Canadians did at Juno and Sword. It's like the U-571 Hollywood film, in which the US captured the Enigma coding machine - complete fiction which ignored a major UK contribution to Allied victory. Imagine how you'd feel if we made a film which inferred that it was the British Royal Marines who raised the flag at Iwo Jima?

Yes, we should be grateful for your help, and we are. Without you, the War would have dragged on for a decade. And we might (but probably only might) have lost. But invasion of the UK ceased to be a reality halfway through the Battle of Britain. The war in Africa was effectively won with the Battle of El Alamein (without US help). The defeat of Nazi Germany in the East became inevitable with the defeat at Stalingrad.

Without the USA, mainland Western Europe may have remained part of the Reich for decades (though without oil, that's debateable). Without the USA, we'd probably have lost India two or three years before we granted independence anyway. "But the attitude that we'd all be speaking German" ignores the contribution that we made to the eventual victory, in all theatres, and if you step back and think about it, I'm confident that you're broad minded and intelligent enough to agree.

Your original remarks inferred that we also owed you for previous and other wars (the Cold War, damned right, couldn't have done it without you, ditto the Gulf, ditto the Balkans, and thanks for making the Falklands a lot easier, too). But during the Great War, the American contribution was relatively tiny, and very late. You've also 'stiffed us' on a number of occasions, when we might have expected loyalty from an ally, and we paid (sometimes 'through the nose') for some of the lend-lease equipment supplied before Pearl Harbour. It cuts both ways - the Special Relationship has had ups and downs.

And I'm sure you don't mean to infer that only America suffered casualties in Normandy - or anywhere else. As a pilot yourself, 55,000 RAF Bomber Command dead might have some vague resonance for you, perhaps?

At the end of the day, it's all about mutual respect and understanding - if there isn't respect, there's almost bound to be suspicion, contempt and abuse. So please understand that most Europeans (and certainly most Brits) would think that generally the US is great, but sometimes isn't. That sometimes it should play more of a part on the World stage, and sometimes less.

6th Apr 2001, 22:43

if you read my posts carefully you will see that i have never posted anything anti-UK. once again, i have many, many friend that are british. as a matter of fact i love your country. i love spending time there (worlds best beer).

if you read my above posts you will see that i do not expect others to bow down and kiss our feet. i have never said or implied that you owed us anything. but i certainly expect to get the benifit of the doubt from our friends. you are the one who just spat on the graves of the hundreds of thousands of young american soldiers who died on battle fields thousands of miles away. yet when we have a very murky situation between communist china and your "brothers" across the atlantic a great number here rip america. i just dont understand it. why so much hostility towards us? what have we done to you? someone else posted earlier that you never see anti-UK remarks in the US press. i this is because you guys never make mistakes.

i have never said that "america is best" but just as you have every right to be proud of your country, i have a right to be very proud of my country. i just dont understand why so many here are so happy and flippant about the troubles of a basically sibling country that has stood and died next to you (as you have stood with us) during times of war.

so no, i dont think you owe us anything more than a little respect and compassion. i think we have earned that at least.

p.s. sorry for my spelling errors. i guess i need to learn the "english" language a little better:~)

Jolly Tall
6th Apr 2001, 23:33
There has been a great deal of critical comment here on the behaviour of the US in world affairs over the past few decades. But that does not necessarily equate to anti-American sentiment re its citizens. As a British citizen (or subject!) I could happily accept critical opinion of UK policy over the past 20 or so years from any nationality, without taking it personally. It is quite feasible to feel endearment towards a geographical entity and its people, yet still feel revolted by its international behaviour. A countries' administration and its citizens are not one and the same thing.

6th Apr 2001, 23:53
How did a thread about Chinese fighter-interceptors taking down a lumbering American "cargo" plane ever develop into such outright mean jingoistic character?

Forget that the plane was spying. Everyone does that to its own best capabilities. Just because the Americans can do it just a little bit better than the others, is a moot point.

Many of the American intelligence reports/results are shared by allied intelligence services around the world, including the British, who welcome them with open arms instead of lambasting them and rejecting them, just because they came from the Yankee Colonialists.

Somebody mentioned with glee that an American soldier had raped a 15-year old girl on Okinawa. There have been incidents like this, but that is not national policy. I'm sure the Pentagon didn't draw up plans to rape every 15,000th Japanese girl.

Just to set the record straight, after World War II, Gen. Douglas McArthur became the military governor of Japan who quickly tried to restore order to the nation in a democratic and bloodless way. If anyone had any reason to commit vengeance killings, it was the Americans and the British because of their heavy losses and sub-human treatment by the Japanese when they were captured.

So the Americans backed Gen. Chiank Kai Shek, the Chinese nationalist who was driven out of China and settled on Formosa. They just could not ally themselves with communist Mao Tse Tung, whose mentor was Josef Stalin -- the nice Georgian guy who is responsible for killing at least 30 million innocent people. Poor Adolf only managed about 6 million.

Then came the Great Cultural Revolution in the China that you defend so much, or are you only using China to get at the Americans?
Roughly guessing from informed reports, about 2.5 million vanished in that great ideological move.

It has simmered down today, but remember, the ideology remains the same. I agree with some on some things -- one of them being that China is probably the biggest threat to the free world today. The Americans know it, the Russians know it, and even the British know it. As far as the Australians, who, by a whisker, were prevented from being invaded by the Japanese expansionists in World War II, well, its like "peace man, and don't you dare bring in your nasty nuclear ships to our ports. But, gee guys, its OK if you patrol just outside our national boundary."

If China goes on the expansionist path, and one day they will, when the ship container market has dried up, the cheap electronics market is flooded and nobody wants to buy last year's Nike footwear, Australia and Japan look like prime candidates for the first to be swallowed up. Oh, and a move into Russia's underbelly, because they'll be too weak to do anything about it.

Don't you think there were a lot of sleepless nights in the western alliance when China took over Hong Kong and Macao?

Then again, many of your posts have made reference to George W. Why so angry? Why so bitter? Most of you guys weren't even eligible to vote for him.

What has the guy done so far that you ridicule him so much? I think the Bush administration has shown a certain calm in this latest incident compared to the Chinese who have almost gone over the edge and back to their old rhetoric of calling the Americans "running dogs" for something the ChiComs were at fault in the first place.

Remember, no matter how painful it may be that a plane was spying on them, that plane was in international waters and any contact with that transport plane was the fault of the interceptors because they were too close.

Last of all, I liked the post about the green cards. No matter what kind of sh*t happens, the same dingbat who wrote his heart out condemning the Americans, is very likely to post: "Any chance of getting an American green card for a 2,000-hour B767 left/right seater?"

To them I say go and fly for China Airlines!

7th Apr 2001, 00:12
Well spoken Latvia!

Agree with you 100%.
Top notch posting whether English is your First or Second language.

Men, this is no drill...

Jolly Tall
7th Apr 2001, 00:39
No Latvia, 'poor Adolf' did not manage a mere 6 million, you 'forget' the 20 million or so Russian/Ukrainains - victims of the murderous policy inflicted during their Eastern campaign.

David H
7th Apr 2001, 00:54
LatviaCalling's reference to 2.5m disappearing in the Cultural Revolution may be a little on the high side. However, the real losses in Maoist China took place in the laughably named and tragic Great Leap Forward, about 1957-1960, when maybe 30m died, mostly of starvation.

7th Apr 2001, 01:25
Jolly Tall,

If you wanted to nit-pick I would have chosen my spelling error of Chiang Kai Shek.

Now, as far as your Ukranians are concerned, they are included in all the losses of the USSR -- you've got to remember that Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union at the time and when the Germans moved in Ukranians showed their allegiance to Germany. When the Russians came back in, they eliminated all dissenters.

For your information, the following are U.S. statistics for killed in WW II.

USSR 31 million
China 11 million
Germany 7 million
Poland 6 million
Japan 1.8 million
Austria 525,000
Great Britain 388,000
USA 293,000
Australia 29,000
Canada 39,000
New Zealand 12,000

Have a nice one.

7th Apr 2001, 01:37

I mentioned bush in my post. Angry & bitter? why must everyone who disagrees with america be angry / bitter / resentfull / jealous etc etc. no no resigned and fearfull is the way i would put it. Bush jr does not respect international treaties this is slightly worrying to the rest of the world - but i bet you had never considered that had you?

Also measured & calm? HA! many news organisations are now reporting that the chinesse were about to give the airmen back before bush demand the return of the 'soverign american teritory', check the facts lat.

Finally how has it become accepted fact that the whole thing happened where and how the state department said it did? usually the posters on this forum would want FDR data before they came to their conclusions, ive come to expect a higher lever of cynicism folks, curious.


Jolly Tall
7th Apr 2001, 01:39

I didn't want to nit-pick, I just thought it was a glaring omission. I accept your figures as I don't have any others to hand, and I am not concerned about spelling errors. (I also think we need to get back on-topic). Have a nice one yourself ;-)

Genghis McCann
7th Apr 2001, 01:39
I am only pitching in at the end so I may have missed this earlier. It is dead simple to me. When the rubber hits the road, who are our real friends? Who will stick by us when we need them? The French? The Germans, The Belgians? The Spanish? The Italians? The Chinese?!! I don't think so. The Americans are the best friends we have got and the best friends we have ever had. Like any close relationship we will have our differences. However, every man, woman and child currently enjoying life in the UK (and indeed in Western Europe) has every reason to get on his knees and thank God for America - warts and all. We may not agree with every facet of American behaviour but they saved our bacon in a big way. I back them all the way and I do not trust the Chinese government one bit. I know where my bread is buttered and there are a few people out there making foolish remarks about America who need to know that too.

7th Apr 2001, 02:26

Having experienced the priviledge of having that great government take my bread & butter aweay from me with a long series of bone fide felonies, which the same government refused to investigate, I must dissent. Nor would the media touch the story.

All that to protect corporate profits.

For all the knowledgable and accurate citations of history and the equal opinions, let's get back to the subject of this thread, before it gets closed - PLEASE!

7th Apr 2001, 02:38
Genghis McCann,

Thank you for your posting, Genghis. Your contribution to this forum wrapped up my feelings regarding this whole issue. Short, clear, concise and to the point. I still can't understand why some of these people are trying to lay the blame for this tragic incident on the U.S.?

Roger TFI,

I'm not angry and bitter. I just think that a lot of these posters are taking their personal feelings of inferiority out on the U.S. By the way, the Chinese have never denied that the plane was in international waters. So what's the old adage about the freighter and the fighter? As far as the freighter is concerned -- keep it straight and level, old boy? Even if he did exercise a lef turn, we're talking a lazy freighter turn and not a knee-jerk fighter turn. It was up to the fighters to watch out for the freighter.

Do you guys think that slick Willie would have been different in resolving this situation? Take the plane, guys, and all it's secrets.

Didn't we have some Chinese guy who worked at Los Alamos take a truck-load of disks from there about two years ago? What happened to him? A slap on the wrist. Yeah, let's vote slick Willie right back in. He'll open up the NSA, the CIA and the DIA to the Chinese so they can quick copy them on the Samsung machines made in China.

7th Apr 2001, 03:04
David H,

I'm sorry. My figures for the killings during the Cultural Revolution were a bit off. I've just gone through the Internet and the learned folks say, "hundreds of thousands, perhaps up to a million." I was off by a little more than a million.

It's like a ferry boat sinking in the Bay of Bengal. "At least 850 persons drowned when an overloaded ferry sank RECENTLY." We get the news a week later and nobody cares.

7th Apr 2001, 04:09
Thanks Genghis.

Between you and Poodle, I think you get nearer to the majority viewpoint of the majority of Brits over here than any of the other Lefties here.

I only hope the rest of America knows that.

Europe - never done us any favours, and ALWAYS fu##ed us over for their own interest.
USA - always helped us when we needed it -ALWAYS. Grow up kiddies, Agaricus, I missed you out, thanks for your contributions.

7th Apr 2001, 04:10
Just to set the record straight, the anti-nuke land is not Australia, but New Zealand.

7th Apr 2001, 04:21
RTFI, I'm not American so I really don't have an axe to grind here, but which international treaty has President Bush not lived up to since he took office in January? I assume you're referring to Kyoto. If so, here are the facts - Jackonicko take note.
The Kyoto accords had to be ratified by the American Senate before it could become binding in the US. On July 26 1997, all 95 US Senators voted against the Kyoto proposal, even Ted Kennedy. Al Gore signed the document anyway, on behalf of the US, but President Clinton never even bothered to send it to the Senate for ratification. He knew he needed 67 votes for said ratification, and he knew he was 67 short. The only thing President Bush did last week was bury the corpse that had been dead for four years.
You profile states your location as London and Sydney. Japan is Australia's best customer for its iron ore and bauxite, I believe. Ask them who they'd rather see patolling the South China Sea, the US or China.

[This message has been edited by pigboat (edited 07 April 2001).]

7th Apr 2001, 07:43
May I ask a simple question?

Is the US government more interested in getting the plane returned, or in retrieving the crew that was on board the plane?

It seems to me that the haste with which the US government escalated the rhetoric in this case was all to do with a high degree of embarassment about the fact that they feared that the Chinese would be able to strip a load of good intelligence stuff out of the plane real quick.

In other words, it seems to me that the plane's equipment destruction mechanisms just did not work for some reason, whether these be automatic or manual.

If it were just the matter of anxiety about the crew, then we all know that their long term safety is guaranteed, and that there is no need to go hysterical to assure their return.

The posture of the US government seems far more related to worries about the plane, and not the crew.

This leads me to ask about the effectiveness of the US Air Force's policy on the destruction of sensitive apparatus that can fall into the hands of a perceived enemy. Yes, there may be plans for the destruction of each individual component on an intelligence or war plane, but why is it that the plane itself is still intact??

In the second world war it seemed that vitually every ship that was about to be captured by the enemy had the facility to be scuttled or blown up by the last crew member out of the exit door.

Why is it that the aircraft in this case is sitting intact on the tarmac on Chinese soil?

Should there not have been some self-destruct charge that should have been triggered by the last exiting crew member?

Have I been watching too many "self-destruct in 10 seconds" Star Trek episodes, or is it that the Pentagon is completely embarassed by the fact that they did not watch the relevant Star Trek episodes, and just plain forgot to imagine this type of Chinese scenario, and thus overlooked the need for a total hull destruction mechanism?

Maybe it is too dangerous to fly with such explosive charges hidden within a plane?

But then then if we applied the same logic to Air Force bombers then they would never be allowed to get airborne in the first place!

7th Apr 2001, 08:17
Agaricus, I reckon you got it in one.
Latvia, Tower Dog and others thanks for keeping the focus on the MAIN GAME here and away from the jingoists who merely help the Chinese rhetoric which enables them to think that they can continue to treat their population and the rest of the worlds braindead like Agaricus' namesakes.

Anybody who thinks that the mindset that provoked Tien an Men and suchlike has changed and that the zenophobic tradition of the Chinese has gone away is definitely on another planet.

We are in very dangerous waters right now, the current imbroglio may or may not be resolved cleanly, it should not be ignored as mere sabre rattling, but treated as the opening gambit to a larger agenda.
The Chinese have backed themselves up against a wall with millenia of internecine warfare decimating the country and degrading its resources, agriculture and the ability to sustain itself in the manner it wishes. We will never know how just how many of its population have died, unnecessarily, in pursuit of personal ambitions of the passing parade of egomaniac zealots. The history, whilst immensely tragic, reads like a bad propaganda movie. Its young people have been exposed (against the old mens wishes) to the real world and they want some of it.
It's an old scenario and revisit of past global conflicts.
The stakes however are increased immeasurably by that most futile and plain stupid exercise of "face saving" which dooms them to that enduring state of "second rate" that they so hate.

Unreconstructed, imperialist, revisionist, running dog, gaunty.

Tom the Tenor
7th Apr 2001, 13:19
This thread has been lively and it shows how we can all wind each other up. Clearly, the first hope now is that the EP-3 crew will get out of China very soon. I guess the aircraft will stay where it is for considerably longer. Whatever intelligence gathering hardware the Chinese did or did not get from the Orion platform can hardly be a huge issue as countries like France would sell to them anyway and their intel kits cannot be too different from what is available in the U.S. An astronomy friend tells me the Chinese have a very ambitious Space programme and that they are planning a manned shot at the moon in the next few years and from the space point of view they are in competition with America and not an adversary. Russian built new Chinese destroyers are not a threat to U.S. Navy carriers with their accompanying battle groups giving escort and it is doubtful if China has expansionist plans on the American mainland or even Hawaii. Do not know too much about Taiwan. One question: is travel allowed between China and Taiwan?

A suggestion I have for us all to be a little more reconciled with each other is the idea of a non-denominational PPRuNe Prayer Breakfast. All aviators have an admiration for astronauts and some of them are well up on philosophy/religion. We could have fellowship on both sides of the Atlantic at different times. Might help us to understand each other more. Thank you, TTT.

7th Apr 2001, 14:06
Hey Gaunty - I couldnae have put it better.

Right on mate, right on. A lot of people on here need to take a reality check, and stop the ridiculous anti-US ranting - or they may just provoke a return to isolationism from the US.

President Bush - why on earth does the guy get such a bad press.

I know the reason, he tells the truth, he doesn't screw around with White House Interns, he doesn't give pardons to crooks, swindlers and criminals, he doesn't get impeached, he doesn't execute mental retards for political advantage, he doesn't make dodgy land purchase deals. Have I missed anything out ?

7th Apr 2001, 14:31
Missed anything out?

Yes. He gives the impression of having a lack of intellectual depth (yeah I know he's the first Pres. with an MBA) and that he has a lack of 'world awareness', he's a pro-gun, pro-death penalty populist who doesn't mind appealing to the lowest common denominator, he's an anti-environmentalist, and has a tendency towards brinkmanship in his foreign policy. The narrowness of his victory should make him a conciliator and a bridge builder and he's not.

He's a second-rater when the Republican Party could have had an equally right wing but more inclusive first-rate candidate. John McCain. He could even have won the election fair and square.

On the other hand, I think he's basically honourable, which is a massive improvement over Clinton, and he has some impressive people in his team - especially Powell. He's making a good show with this crisis.

I don't blame Bush personally for Kyoto, but the failure to implement it is a matter of shame to the USA, it's national selfishness and greed running riot.

Back to the subject of the thread, though.

Did anyone see a fuller film clip of the interceptor and the P-3. Wouldn't swear to it, but it looked like a MiG-23 to me, and it certainly had no refuelling probe, which you'd expect if the aircraft was a J-8 IV (F-8D) as has been suggested.

7th Apr 2001, 16:05

I was actualy refering to the ABM treaty (1972) which allowed each country to develop missile defences for 1 and only 1 site. the USSR protected moscow and the USA a missile farm in wyoming i think (intresting choices i think you'd agree), a treaty fully ratified by both houses of congress.

Its terms are clear as is the fact that the NMD shield breaches it, even though its unlikely to work! :) :) :)


7th Apr 2001, 16:30
&gt;&gt;Should there not have been some self-destruct charge that should have been triggered by the last exiting crew member?&lt;&lt;

Actually, there is some precedent for this. In his autobiography Francis Gary Powers of CIA/U-2 fame claimed there was such a charge in his aircraft. Supposedly, the CIA claimed there was a 20 second delay after the detonator was activated. Rumor among the pilots was that there was _no_ delay, so Powers elected not to use this facility after his aircraft was hit by a Russia SAM and he bailed out.

Destruction drills are part of handling compartmented classified material and practiced often in the military, less often in the civilian sector from my experience. Still, it is extrememly hard to quickly destroy all data with magnetic media involved (short of physical destruction, itself time consuming with large amounts of material).

See for example:


7th Apr 2001, 17:21

Now China insists that the U.S. apologize & the wife of the downed pilot accuses Bush of cowardice - not good.

7th Apr 2001, 19:52
Wife of fighter pilot that crashed while getting too close to un-armed transport in International Airspace wants apology from Whom?

(No common sense in China I take it?)

Somebody should take their nukes away if their thought process is that cocked up.

Men, this is no drill...

7th Apr 2001, 21:15
You know, Tom Clancy may just have seen a glimpse of the future.

(Though I guess some of you will dobtless slag him off because he's American)

This could become rather complicated rather quickly. But I'd rather see Bush dealing with it than Clinton. I just hope he doesn't ask Tony for support - probably find our forces are committed to a Pan European initiative, those that aren't sorting out the Foot and Mouth for him.

7th Apr 2001, 21:20
They are that cocked up http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif

7th Apr 2001, 23:38
Well, I see the America bashers have backed off a bit during the last 24 hours. Maybe they're afraid the NSA is tapping into their E-mails -- could be true because of all the Keywords being used, like "spy plane," "EP-3", "Chinese," etc. -- and when they apply for their green cards, guess what! Anyway.

McGinty -- According to Pentagon sources, the EP-3 and other American intelligence planes are usually equipped with low detonation explosives, that is, they will blow the console, but not injure the cryptographer. Now whether it is like a phospor grenade that just keeps on burning and used only when leaving the aircraft, I don't know.

Tom the Tenor -- I think that the prayer breakfast idea is good on paper, but I really don't believe any serious discussion about philosophy and religion would go over on PPRuNe. Actually, in a posting several months ago I also tried to get a serious thread going on this subject, but it was quickly pointed out to me that within a few posts it would change from the serious to the ludicrous. Just look at JetBlast and OCB. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've never seen OCB post ANYTHING anywhere, except in a thread of his own creation.

Jackonicko -- You are right when you say that the F-8 (J-8) looks like a MiG 23. The later "IIM" and "D" models had an uncanny resesemblance to the MiGs. For more on this, please access the following site:


8th Apr 2001, 03:08

I E-mailed a major newspaper reporter with close ties to this issue, describing the impossibility of the Chinese account.

His reply:

"Thanks; but this isn't about the facts."

I think that sums it up nicely.

I guess the U.S. & China have a profitable military build-up in the works. That shouldn't come as a surprise either.

Texas uber alles.

8th Apr 2001, 05:47
I read this thread a few days ago and was fully prepared to back up my friend Latvia, however, when I got ready to post my reply, I see, as L.C. does as well, that the tide has turned.

No matter which side of the world one is on, in aviation, we should all be brothers.

Having flown International for the last 9 years (and I mean International in the sense of going to places where the US State Dept. would be pi**ed if they knew a US citizen was there), I can honestly say 99% of the people I've met on my journey's have been pro-aviation.

Aside from the Customs and Immigration officials, most people seemed more interested in my a/c, and could I get their friend a job, or could they have the left over catering, etc.

The Chinese need to return the crew, and they need to do it now. If they want to keep anyone, keep the Aircraft Commander and Mission Commander (if they weren't the same person)

No stretch of anyone's imagination can say the USAF E-3 or E-4, or the USN E-6 or any other lower ranking crewmember has anything to do with the US Policy. These are brother airmen, and were following orders and doing their job.

I for one am proud of Latvia Calling for posting this thread, and for his pro-democracy opinions and ideals.

I'll see you in Riga this summer, my friend....

8th Apr 2001, 07:23
LatviaC you mentioned on your post on p9 that China will one day go on an expansionist path. Do you mean economicaly or geographicaly? As I mentioned in a previous post, Chinas communism is different as compared to the former USSR which required a constantly expanding sphere of influence in order for its Marxist system to survive while China does not. Most of Chinas post-1949 [email protected] occured only within its civil borders (the GLF, Tienenmen etc), Tibet being the only exception still on-going since 1980. If China ever gets its latent capitalist act together it will swallow up most of Asia and Australasia. In other words if you dont trade with China in the future youll be on the outer. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your outlook) communism is stopping them at present and things are staying the way they are. If you suddenley let lose 1.4 billion unbridled capitalist Chinese on the world theyd take the whole place over without firing a shot.
Geographicaly expansionwise I cant see China wanting a chunk of Oz. Oz has more immediate potential enemys much closer to its borders during these next 10 years. It doesnt make sense economicaly or militarily and would do more harm to China than good. I speculate China could certainly hit Japan and with the Nikkei out of the way it would emerge more quickly as an economic superpower but risks the wrath of the US. A bit of saber-rattling and a few fake nuke doodlebugs across the Strait will take care of who Taiwan will trade with from then on. China would allow Taiwan to carry on as usual but would make clear whos side they are on militarily.
Im certainly no apologist for the bloodey Chinese government or communism but dont let ideology or the rantings of politicians on both sides get in the way of how things realy work. As for the P3, the Chinese are a real face-saving bunch and a simple "ok sorry" from the US will bury the matter imediately and forever in Beijing. Who the hell cares whos fragile ego backs down or doesnt.

[Edited to reduce my crappy spelling]

[This message has been edited by Slasher (edited 08 April 2001).]

8th Apr 2001, 07:27
Saw the clip again. Definitely a MiG-23MF, ML or MLD, grey, with a big two-digit Bort Number. Unless it's very old footage it's more likely to be Vietnamese, Polish or North Korean rather than Russki, so obviously just inappropriate library footage.

8th Apr 2001, 08:43

If I remember an earlier news clip, the aircraft involved was a Chinese knock-off of the Mig 21.

8th Apr 2001, 15:19

Sorry. MiG-23 comments referred to a film clip shown on the good old BBC. The type involved was a Shenyang J-8 'Finback'. This is an indigenous Chinese design, albeit one which draws heavily on some 1960s MiG heavy fighter prototypes (Ye-150, Ye-152 - which were scaled up twin-engined MiG-21 clones) which didn't enter service. The Chinese have four basic variants in service, some with a MiG-21 type nose inlet, some with a radar nose and F-4/MiG-23 type inlets.

The Chinese MiG-21 copy to which you refer is the Chengdu J-7, whose two-seat training variant is the Guizhou JJ-7.

You will see the Chinese fighter involved sometimes referred to as the F8, but this is strictly inaccurate, as F designations apply only to export aircraft - and the Chinese have not managed to sell any of these things to anybody yet.

Hope that helps!

8th Apr 2001, 15:21
Glad to see some objectivity returning to this thread. As a piece of better journalism than I could spell, write or compose, I recommend the Sunday Times article, page 16, by Andrew Sullivan. Entitled 'Anti-Americanism', it is perfectly and factually written. To give you a taste, it concludes:

.......Bill Clinton's seductive skills placated America's foes and allies with his usual snake oil charm. But eventually the underlying envy asserts itself. It doesn't take a genius to see the connection between anti-Americanism and the attempt to create a European federal superstate. They are two sides of the same coin - a coin best described as resentment.
It may be emotionally satisfying but it is no substitute for grappling with real problems at home and abroad with honesty, frankness and common sense.
For those unfashinable virtues , alas, you now have to go to Washington.

8th Apr 2001, 18:33
Slasher: well posted; "face" is the name of the game and the Chinese are master players at it.

Say,"sorry" on one side and the Chinese will give it back without losing face!

Unfortunate numeral for your current number of posts, by the way!! LOL

Latvia Calling: like your posts, generally and glad you corrected the NZ ban on nuclear ships.

Australia is and always has been an ally of the USA. Remember that it was Australian AND New Zealand forces that fought with the US in that unfortunately unnecessary debacle in Vietnam!

Let us hope that the EP3 crew return safely home to their family and loved ones.

Gaunty and Poodle Velour - excellent posts all! This is a most entertaining and interesting subject! :)

Be CAREFUL out there!

8th Apr 2001, 19:22

Judging by the news in the USA, the government will be soon distributing yellow ribbons in the same fashion they distributed the "I support our troops" bumper stickers in the first day of the Gulf War crisis. (A little 'planning' in the background.)

8th Apr 2001, 19:48
Seems as if Bush & Comp would rather make their own troops suffer than lose face by appologizing.
Slasher's description of the Chinese need for avoiding loss of face applies equally in Washington?

8th Apr 2001, 20:03
Would an aircraft getting too close under a wing cause the wing to drop due to the low pressure area above lower aircraft's wing? i.e. unavoidable turn in the dirction of the interceptor.

What happened to basic rule of the road saying the aircraft which has the other on it's right should keep clear?

Has there been any mention of a full investigation to determine what happened, as per normal in aviation, or is it all bullshit politics?


8th Apr 2001, 20:10
New American President who wants to make his mark versus thousands of years of chinese inscrutability.

I know who my money's on.

8th Apr 2001, 21:08

Latvia was right first time. Parts of Oz also ban any ship which might be carrying nukes. Missed a run ashore in Melboune in '88 because of it!

8th Apr 2001, 23:02

This is the best possible timing with Bush. What little military he has left isn't positioned to do anything to China. Economically, Clinton got such a cash-flow going that the money powers are no doubt leaning on Bush.

Bush's staff is poorly prepared to deal with such a crisis, so early.

The fact that the media hasn't exposed the impossibility of China's account should tell the world quite a story, by itself. They haven't even alluded to the obvious question, "What was the fighter doing that close???" Remember that this wasn't the first such incident.

At least it isn't boring.

This could be the first step of the next "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution." If you're not familiar, check the corruption on that one, starting with the 1960 election purchase and the JFK killing.

Texas uber alles!

9th Apr 2001, 00:18
Arkroyal: USS Constellation Carrier Battlegroup alongside in Sydney Harbour even as we speak! :)

Nukes more than welcome in Alice Springs!! :) :)
Tough luck in '88!!

Be CAREFUL out there!

[This message has been edited by Zarg (edited 08 April 2001).]

9th Apr 2001, 00:38
Jackonicko & SKYDRIFTER,

I posted the web site of the J-8 story yesterday. It is complete with color photos you can enlarge and is remarkably like the MiG.

Here is the web site again:


It would be too long and boring for some to post the whole story, but here is an exerpt from the "IIM" model with an elongated nose, which was the most likely one, because the Chinese newspapers showed photos of it and painted on the plane it says F-8 -- the export variant. Maybe they couldn't sell them, so they're using them themselves.

"J-8 IIM: To improve the poor performance of J-8B (J-8II), SAC (Shengyang Aircraft Company) has developed F-8IIM, a private venture for the overseas market. F-8IIM is capable of carrying a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, they include PL-8, R-27/AA-10 and PL-5B, as well as free-drop iron bombs under the centerline of the fuselage. The significance of this variant is highlighted by a Russian Zhuk-8II (FG-8) look-down, shoot-down radar (forward sphere 70km, rear sphere 40km), replacing the obsolete Type-208 radar onborad J-8B. The Zhuk-8II able to track up to 10 targets and engage 2 targets simultaneously with radar-guided AAMs (e.g. AA-10), as well as to launch anti-ship missiles (e.g. Kh-31). Other improvements include new HUD and multi-functional display, combined INS/GPS (Type 563B), integrated ECM system, HOTAS control, ARINC429 databus, a 3,000 hour life airframe and two upgraded WP-13AIII turbojet.

"The change in aerodynamics is minimum and aircraft is actually heavier, resulting in a slightly poorer maneouverability. As a result, like F-7MG, it is not expected to be acquired by PLAAF in large quantities.

"The test flight of F-8IIM was completed by January 1998 and so for it has yet to find a customer. Besides F-8IIM, a much redesigned J-8C (J-8III) featuring FBW, canard wing, WP-14 turbojet and new fire control radar was rumored but has not been confirmed.

"J-8D: J-8D is the first Chinese fighter equipped with in-flight refuelling system. Except for a fixed, non-retractable refuelling probe installed on the starboard side of the cockpit, J-8D appears generally similar to the improved J-8B, with new avionics such as HK-13E HUD, 563B INS, JD-3II Tacan and RKL800A integrated ECM suit (including KJ-8602 RWR), plus upgraded fire-control radar capable of firing PL-8 IR guided and PL-11 semi-active radar guided AAMs. At least 30 J-8Ds are believed to have been in service with PLAAF (you can see a few in a row at the picture to the left) and PLA naval aviation since 1996, but it appears that only a few pilots have qualified for performing dangerous in-flight refuelling with H-6U tankers. With an extended combat radius of 1,200km, these J-8Ds could increase PLAAF's combat potential, however the degree to which they do it depends on the number in service."

For the interested, the rest is available on the above web site.

9th Apr 2001, 01:39
Oh dear!

There are no J-8IIMs in PLA service. They haven't received more than a couple of Zhuk radars, and the type is years away from being fit for service. There are J-8s (original version, probably only for training now) J-8Is (with ranging radar in the MiG-21 style nose-cone) solid-nosed J-8IIs and a small number of J-8IVs but these latter, with the refuelling probe, are used only by the Navy.


J-8 = F-8
J-8I = F-8A
J-8II = F-8B
J-8IIM = 'F-8IIM' (incorrect but in use) = F-8M
J-8III = F-8C
J-8IV = 'J-8D' (incorrect but in use) = F-8D

Aircraft pictured on the ground at the airbase at which the EP-3E is being held are J-8IIs and J-6s (unlicenced MiG-19 copies).

1 of many
9th Apr 2001, 01:41

Sorry I couldn't reply sooner, I've been away.

Anti American? No. I'm anti-anybody that's got their head so far up their ass that they don't see how ridiculous it is to cry Uncle when it happens to you.

This work has been going on for thousands of years. The only real skill is not getting caught, as I pointed out.

Do you think anyone believes that the P3 pilot (knowing the cost and sensitivity of his aircraft and diplomatic position) decided 'Ooo look a PRC fighter, I think I'll ram him'?

I've done night interceptions, mainly for AAR and know how easy it is to misjudge a (relatively) static 'target' let alone one that's manoeuvering.

On a personal basis I believe the PRC pilot was going to give the Yankees a fright and overcooked it.

As for the comment about your Boss, what kind of president he will be remains to be seen. But he does rather lead with his chin where the Europeans are concerned. Our 'special relationship' deal is signed by one 'Hans Christian Anderson' and promoted by the Grimm Brothers - ie BS.

Mr Bush is scary, when viewed from this side of the pond. Time will tell if the 'good people of the US' come round to this view in another 4 years and however long it takes to sort out the re-counts.

My best friend is American - I talk to him as and equal (he tells me he doesn't mind that, but he is a liberal)!!

Take care and regards to all apolitical Americans.

9th Apr 2001, 02:02

I revert to your posting as probably more accurate, as far as aircraft typ involved. Not being an expert on Chinese aircraft, I only relayed the web site on which they were posted.

9th Apr 2001, 04:06
Considering the ( weekend ) time of the
"incident", instead of snooping on a important trade partner, should'nt these
people have been with their families and /or
in the respective messes at their base
drinking Diet Coke ?

They are certainly in the same mess now.....

Ignition Override
9th Apr 2001, 09:09
Too bad that we can't (maybe should not) seize a (PRC) Chinese airline crew and keep them hostage, and then exchange everyone. But our government would lower itself to the low level of the so-called "Peoples'" Republic of China. How this hostage crisis will persuade the US govt not to sell powerful weapons to the Taiwan government remains to be seen.

After our people are home, we should never vote the PRC into a "more favored" trade status, unless the arrogant "upper class" Chinese leaders, who run the PRC govt, finds a way to apologize to our American crewmembers' families for keeping their loved ones HOSTAGES. Former President Clinton was a sucker and might have done anything while he was in power to avoid standing up to any and all of the PRC's threats. Clinton's contempt for his own military's prestige and self-image, while well aware of the damage to morale and readiness during his tenure (just ask some of my First Officers, who retired recently from 20+ years with the Navy, Air Force etc) might have allowed nations such as the PRC to smile at our weakened US military condition and its reduced capability to be a deterrent to minor or major acts of foreign aggression.

My arguement is not with the (PRC) Chinese people, but against their government's decision to use a crew as pawns in a game of domestic and international Chinese politics.

[This message has been edited by Ignition Override (edited 09 April 2001).]

1 of many
9th Apr 2001, 13:14
Ignition Override

If you seriously consider the PRC would give a 'rat's arse' about one of their crews in detention . . think on.

However the loss of face is something else. Their government is about shoring up the egos of old men clinging on to power.

The best thing your government can do is apologise with the national fingers-crossed behind your backs.

The crew come home, the aircraft is recovered, and the whole crazy game starts again . . . just with a new set of SOPS and a set of detonators in the kit, if they weren't there already.

Good luck.

9th Apr 2001, 16:08
The U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance plane was flying on autopilot at the time of the collision with a Chinese fighter jet .

Two Chinese F-8 fighters had been tracking the plane closely, too closely, for 10 minutes. The U.S. flyers even recognized one of the pilots, Wang Wei, a notorious hotdogger who one time flew so close to an American plane that he could be seen holding up his e-mail address on a piece of paper. It was Wang's plane that clipped the EP-3's left wing, slashed one of its four propellers into pieces and smashed off the plane's nose before spiraling into the South China Sea.

If the above is true,wouldn't it be fitting for the Chinese Government to apologize profusely and beg forgiveness for nearly ending the lives of 24 American service personal as a result of the wreckless actions of one of their suicidal pilots ??

The wingman of the missing pilot claims the U.S. aircraft rammed his buddy .
Sounds very difficult to believe given the performance characteristics and the mission of both aircraft involved in the accident.

One report says that Wang Wei was killed instantly after the collision. The report claims that he ejected into one of the propellers of the US surveillance plane.

It would be a fair bet that the fellow Chinese pilot/s who witnessed their buddy getting the ultimate haircut will practice more effective 'SEE AND AVOID' techniques during the course of their flying careers.

My thoughts are with the 24 crew who are all hostages in a country run by individuals who lie for a living and who should never be trusted .

That's specifically why we need to keep a watchful eye on their activities.


[This message has been edited by TimeisShort (edited 09 April 2001).]

9th Apr 2001, 17:52
1 of many.

You cant do that. You can't apologize and say only kidding. It would be a slap in the face to the entire US armed services and it would reduce our credibility abroad.

When we genuinely make a mistake (as in the accidental bombing of the chinese embassy) we apologize and compensate the victims.

We expect the same from the rest of the world. And those that think China isn't about territorial expansion are kidding themselves. They want the whole china sea, the spratly Islands etc...

A congressman said it best? You want us to say Im sorry? Ok, Im sorry we granted China permanent mostfavored nation trade status.

I think it is time we gave the Taiwanese As many Aegis cruisers (with the software to do ICBM intercepts) and Patriot missles as they want. If we get the Thaad working or get the Isreali Arrow system, give it to Taiwan Immediately.

Also, the US needs to make a MAXIMUM effort at the rest of the antimissle programs. As far as the ABM treaty goes, there are provisions to opt out. I suggest that it is time to opt out.


9th Apr 2001, 18:23

The solutions are too easy. The key is in the political agenda driving this mess. No doubt the arming of Taiwan is a major factor. In all liklihood, the spying is also a major factor.

While there is a gap in the trade imbalance, the profit margin, on Chinese goods, to U.S. companies is tremendous.

As a side note, I'd like to know the dwstinations and origins of the airport 'specially' built in Arkansas, favoring the air transportation needs of two particular 'friendly' wholesalers. Chickens out; Chinese goods back??? Anything drug dogs would be interested in??? That airport issue was a big secret and rather disappeared quickly. And, who were the contractors who built the airport??? I think TNX was the designator.

9th Apr 2001, 18:48
Surely it isn't beyond the wit of man to come up eith some wording which is an apology as far as the Chinese are concerned, but obviously ironic to the English speaking world.

That way all will be satisfied, and the crew will be home asap.

9th Apr 2001, 21:49

From News24..
09/04/2001 08:07 - (SA)
Chinese pilot wanted to shoot down US spy plane

Hong Kong - A Chinese fighter pilot requested permission to shoot down a US
spy plane after seeing it collide with his comrade's jet, a Hong Kong
newspaper said on Monday.
Pilot Zhao Yu was refused permission and instead manoeuvred to force the
American plane, which was attempting to fly away from China, to land at an
airbase, the South China Morning Post quoted Chinese sources as saying.
The 24 crew members of the US crew and their EP-3 Aries surveillance plane
have been detained in the southern province of Hainan for more than a week.
The sources also told the English language paper that when the American
plane landed at the Lingshui airbase, a Chinese officer wrestled a US airman
to the ground to gain access to the craft.
Zhao told Chinese television on Friday that he and fellow pilot Wang Wei had
been tracking the spy plane closely in their fighter jets when the larger
aircraft veered abruptly, smashing into Wang's plane.
Wang parachuted from his stricken jet, but has been missing, presumed dead,
since the collision eight days ago.

The Post's source said, however, that after the collision in international
air space, Zhao radioed to military ground control for permission to shoot
down the spy plane, which was refused.
"The officials at ground control were cool headed," one source told the
"It would have been an act of war, whereas the collision was an accident."
After the collision the US plane attempted to fly northeast, away from
China, the sources said, but Zhao forced it to land in Hainan.

When the American plane landed, its crew refused to allow the Chinese onto
the craft without US diplomats present, the sources added.
"Then a senior officer arrived, walked up the stairs and wrestled [with] a
US crew member guarding the entrance. The officer threw the airman to the
ground, enabling the PLA (People's Liberation Army) to enter," the paper
reported. - Sapa-AFP

I have no idea how accurate this is, but if it is true then there were some very high stakes being played for when the aircraft landed, as indeed they still are.

We could very well be talking about the future of the free world here, the first one to blink loses. If the PRC get away with this then who knows what they will try next.

God speed to the crew and their families

9th Apr 2001, 23:45

How unfortunate that for your first posting you chose to be flippant and something very near a JetBlast category. I don't know what you do, but you certainly can't be a pilot, because pilots are required to fly on weekends, whether they like it or not.

Aircraft, whether they are spying, or not, are always in the air, and the pilots consider their job a very serious business and are not, repeat not, at home drinking Diet Coke with their families. A word of advice to you -- look at the other posts on serious issues before you decide whether your innocuous offering is worthwhile.


A very good point on the "saving a face" or "losing a face." This, my friend, reverts back to the Vietnam war where for how many months, I don't know, they argued about the shape of the table for the so-called peace discussions.

The Western world may be in the right, but we still can't figure out just how important it is for the Asians, especially the Chinese, to save face, even if it is proven that they are 100% in the wrong.

That is a diplomatic dilemna. We can send scores of diplomats to some center of "Asian Studies" and after the course, they still won't know the answers.

A very good friend of mine was a 1st Secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. His Foreign Ministry counterpart invited him to his home for dinner.

Everything went fine until my friend said, "I very much like your house." The Japanese diplomat was perplexed. Nothing untoward happened, but later the Western diplomat was told that if he liked something, it was a desire for that thing, and according to Japanese custom, it was that the owner would give him the house.

My friend didn't want his bloody house. The whole thing was a compliment to the host.

See how things can go wrong in countries that don't have that typical Western outlook on life.

10th Apr 2001, 03:07

The news account seems to indicate that the crew probably got some tracers across their nose, forcing it to land.

"...After the collision, the plane attempted to fly northeast, away from China, the sources said, but Shao forced it to land in Hainan." - Quoted from the South China Morning Post - above.

Gulf of Tonkin - it's like deja vu; all over again. Last time, it was an "intelligence destroyer." Rather a strange nomencalture for a destroyer, don't you think.

If the Morning Post is correct, it's damned strange that the U.S. media isn't citing that detail.

Then again, my media contact did say, "...this isn't about facts."

10th Apr 2001, 03:26
Pretty gloomy thread on a rather serious subject. Don't think the pilot was given much choice about ditching I would suspect a very stirred up Chinese pilot was probably firing pretty close and by all accounts asking for permission to waste the guy, and the US crew would have known that too. They were probably listening to him.
Surprising ammount of anti US sentiment on the thread, surprising because I don't think anyone should be naive enough to think that the Chinese are anything but a very agressive bunch of 'wannabe the next superpower by any means' and human rights have they proved time and time again just doesn't figure anywhere in their vocabluary.
There is only one country that stands between the Chinses and the rest of the world and yes they are keeping a pretty close eye on them and thank God for it.
By the way that's another concept that's a little alien down in mainland China they don't do God.
Me, I'm just glad that we have people who are prepared to do the job, the people who put their asses on the line, out on that thin line between the restless Dragon and us, the ones who will be taken over.
Yes that's a declared aim and part of the Communist manifesto. It's final goal is total takeover and world domination. They don't make it a secret it's openly declared.
So why are we so surprised that they flex their muscles and engage in brinkmanship. They have propped up and openly supported some pretty murky client states in the recent past and they certainly aren't building ships that will have the capacity to take out aircraft carriers for fun. They mean business and it behooves the West to watch out.
Do I sound paranoid you bet your sweet butt I do.

10th Apr 2001, 05:47
The US Navy, The UK, The South China Sea. What do they have in common?

When the wreckage of that Chinese F-8 settled to the bottom of the South China sea it had company. Also on the bottom (in roughly the same spot if the press charts are accurate) is the wreckage of a British Airways airliner shot down by Chinese LA-9 Fighters in July of 1954 while enroute from Hong Kong to Saigon. Same international airspace, same right to be there as the US Navy EP-3.

Since the UK didn't have assets in the area capable of responding they asked for US assistance. US Navy rescue forces immiediately responded. When the USN units arrived in the search area they found Chinese LA-9's strafing BA survivors so they launched a Rescue Combat Air Patrol from the USS Phillipine Sea. A Skyraider (Prop-driven dive bomber) pilot of VF-54 was attacked by two Chinese fighters which he promptly shot down and the rest of the LA-9s decided to go be heroes of the revolution elsewhere. USN rescue of BA survivors were unmolested after that although RESCAP and search operations continued for about 4 days.

History, it's not just for breakfast anymore.

To the USN EP-3 Hostages and their families: My thoughts are with you. Hang in.

10th Apr 2001, 05:54
It is not the first time this has happened over Hainan Island:

Accident description
Date: 23.07.1954
Time: ca 09.00
Type: Douglas C-54A-10-DC
Operator: Cathay Pacific Airways
Registration: VR-HEU
C/n: 10310
Year built: 1944
Total airframe hrs: 15279 hours
Crew: fatalities / on board
Passengers: fatalities / on board
Total: 10 fatalities / 18 on board
Location: Hainan Island; off (China)
Phase: Cruise
Nature: Scheduled Passenger
Flight: Bangkok IAP - Hong Kong-Kai Tak APT (Flightnumber )
Ditched off Hainan Island after having been shot at by Chinese Lachovlin La-7 fighter aircraft. The survivors were rescued by a US Air Force Albatross (51-009, based at Clarke AFB).

10th Apr 2001, 05:58

It's heartening to see that the U.S. isn't flexing in its position. While more information as to the details would be welcome (from the U.S. media), the rigid spine is good to see.

Maybe if the Chinese continue stripping the plane, the U.S. will see their true resolve - nothing to do with international relations or diplomacy.

Maybe the Pueblo wasn't enough of a prize [spy ship captured by the North Koreans during the Viet Nam war].

From here, the EP-3 crew can only qualify as hostages.

A military response should be in quiet preparation by now.

10th Apr 2001, 06:08
The good news is, They're still talking. The bad news is, they're still talking According to reports I heard in the media the Military Faction tossed a spanner in the works this weekend by being obdurate. If true, then it's not only a matter of talking between two countries, but an internal schism as well. As if it wasn't complicated enough.

Thankfully at this point, we have had limited access to our service people, and they appear to be well cared for. As long as that continues, and as long as the dialog continues, there remains hope.

I'm miffed that it's called a "spy plane" though. Even though it's purpose is to collect everything in the electromagnetic spectrum like a vacuum cleaner, it's not as if it deliberately invades national airspace to do so, or uses stealth technology like the U-2 or SR-71 did. This plane has about as much to do with espionage as any Military Attache in any country does, Yes, collects Intelligence, as Attaches do, but by fair means, not foul. It may be a niggling point, but I thought it bears mention.


10th Apr 2001, 06:09
1 of Many,

"The best thing your country can do is apologize, cross your fingers behind your back......"
what kind of convaluted, twisted thinking is this? This is the same kind of thinking utilized by Chamberlain with Uncle Adolph!
By the way Liberals usually have the same kind of views as you, and your almost always wrong! Remember all the "No-Nuke" protesters in Europe in the 80's, They Hated Reagan, said he was bringing the world to the edge of Nuclear War with his rhetoric, and hard line stance's against the Soviets, Yet even Gorbachev admitted Reagan was right, and he is responsible for the end of the Cold War. Also as the Soviets opened up their archives, it was discovered that alot of the "No-Nuke" organizations were secretly being funded by the KGB...As an American I'm glad Bush is our President, Hell, if clinton was still in office, he would have court-martialed the P-3 crew, apoligized to the Chineese, and replaced their lost fighter with a brand new F-22..When Liberals are at odds with my views its usually a good sign that I'm right!!!

10th Apr 2001, 06:15
I stand corrected Hotdog. One of the references I was using stated it was a "British Air" airliner rather than a Cathay aircraft but it was a newspaper article. I should have known better!

10th Apr 2001, 06:20
"A military response"?

Mmm. Great idea. Let's start a war over the temporary custody of 24 people - the crew of an aircraft engaged in covert if legal electronic espionage.

"Not a Spyplane"?

It attempts to gain int that the Chinese don't want to be accessed. What is it then? A helpful calibration aircraft?

We all want a resolution to this crisis, and it will require a degree of compromise. But we can't berate the Chinese for holding out for an apology if the US is going to be just as intransigent in not giving one.

In fact, Dubya seems to be being fairly accomodating - writing to the widow, etc. and I'd have thought that it was time for the Chinese to make a reciprocal gesture.

But to talk about 'preparing military responses' and applauding 'not flexing'? What colour is the sky on your planet, guys, 'cos you're certainly not on this one.

10th Apr 2001, 07:21

While I wouldn't advocate a stupid military move, I seem to recall that it wasn't the local mayor who issued an invitation to visit, as opposed to a Chinese fighter in international airspace being rather insistent on the destination.

Planet Earth; the last I checked.

10th Apr 2001, 07:51

I am curious how a 4 engine turboprop cruising along in international airspace for all to see is "covert."

Furthermore, Chinese fighters must really suck if 1 can be rammed by a 40+ year old turboprop. You would think that a shiny new jet fighter would be able to stay away. Of course you would have to be carrying out intercepts in proper manner for that to be the case.


Ignition Override
10th Apr 2001, 09:46
Roc: I can sort of understand your reaction to 1 of Many's comments. A "Chinese-style" apology, whatever that consists of, would be the quickest way to get the crew home, it appears. Most on Pprune seem to understand the concept that in the US, any apology implies that it was the EP-3 pilots' fault that the Chinese fighter pilot died.

Although 1 of Many's comment would not appear to be the best solution, regarding long-term US policy towards the PRC, I can understand that such an apology appears to be THE simplest way to get the hostages home. Maybe the comment was intended to be merely an objective solution, despite the complex forign-policy baggage involved in such a humiliating solution.

What fortunate timing that Clinton is finally out of power, living in Senator Hillary's shadow. Clinton could apologize for any ruthless oppression (even ignore intelligence that there was Red Chinese theft of nuclear technology in New Mexico), as long as the govt is described as "left-wing".

10th Apr 2001, 14:06
I know it "the real world" out there, but isn't it amazing how it's always the West who has to be mindful of "the other side's" feelings in anything like this and it's never the other way around?

I know it would unleash a political storm, but wouldn't it be nice to see a "Hollywood ending" to this, where GB recognises Taiwan and says "stick it" to the totalitian regime on the mainland?

I'm just waiting to see the way the West and the ICC rolls over to give the b*****'s the 2008 Olympics to allow them to "save face". It would be a travesty if the did, but believe we'll see it.

10th Apr 2001, 17:25
I say:

Smile sweetly and apologise. Thank them for returning the crew, and then recognise Taiwan's independence. Suggest that maybe, they should discuss their reasons for the US not supplying a new radar system to the newly recognised nation, thus providing jobs and income to the workers of the USA in a time of slight economic uncertainty. A new radar would also be handy for working out where aircraft are in international airspace.


10th Apr 2001, 17:35
When the goin' gets messy, here comes Jesse...

Wonder if this reverend without a church will bring one of his secretaries who can't type to take horizontal shorthand? He has had some success in the past with hostage releases and he needs some positive media coverage to draw attention away from some of the shady deals and financial transactions that have surfaced in the Chicago papers in the past few weeks.


Jackson offers to go to China to negotiate

April 10, 2001

Chicago Sun Times

As he has done with other international crises, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson is offering his mediation skills to help bring an end to the nine-day standoff between the United States and China.

"If a delegation appealing to the Chinese directly would help, we'd be willing to do that," he said Monday. "We've done it before, and each time we were successful."

Jackson also called on the United States to apologize to China, saying it would not be a sign of weakness. Both governments on Monday continued negotiating a resolution to the impasse created after an American spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet collided April 1. The Chinese pilot is missing and presumed dead and 24 Americans have been detained by the Chinese government.

Jackson said it was not only the safety and freedom of the 24 servicemen and women that concerns him, but also the growing threat to international stability created by the standoff.

"The crisis is deepening; the long-range implications are getting deeper," Jackson said. "We are willing to go and make the appeal if both governments are in a fierce deadlock."

President Bush has refused to apologize, though he expressed regret Friday for the loss and presumed death of the pilot. Similar sentiments were contained in a weekend letter from Bush to the pilot's wife, officials said.

On Monday, Bush warned Americans that the standoff may not end soon, saying, "Diplomacy takes time."

He also warned China that its relations with the United States could suffer if the impasse continued.

Bush, who has issued similar warnings to Beijing before, broke new ground with the diplomacy-takes-time formulation. Advisers said it was a plea for patience aimed at conservatives who ratcheted up their anti-China rhetoric over the weekend and began to question his handling of the situation.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday the administration was "sorry" for the pilot's loss--the closest the United States has come to an apology. China gave no direct reaction to Powell's statement Monday.

But Jackson said the United States government ought to apologize for what was an unintentional act, and China should recognize that the collision that led to the loss of a Chinese pilot was an accident.

"I think our government should say: `If we have violated you in any way, it was not intentional and we apologize,' " Jackson said. "Getting Americans home is worth expressing an apology."

Jackson, who has successfully mediated disputes in regions where anti-American sentiment runs high, said diplomatic reasons could prevent the countries from moving close enough to resolution. A religious delegation, however, might be an effective "bridge," he said.

"Both governments have drawn a line in the sand. In the meantime, the soldiers are in the gap," Jackson said. "If it is not closed, the whole world must use various forms of moral appeals."

Jackson said he made an offer to help when he called National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice three days ago. He said no delegation is planned at this time, and he would not interfere with U.S diplomatic efforts.

Jackson also said he is not criticizing President Bush's efforts to date. But he pointed to the list of international disputes he has successfully mediated and said a religious delegation often can make strides where politicians cannot.

"In each instance, we had to make a moral appeal," Jackson said. "You do it in a way that does honor to our country. Somehow religious people can be a bridge."

In 1984, Jackson traveled to Syria to secure the release of Navy Lt. Robert O. Goodman Jr., whose jet was shot down during a raid over Syrian anti-aircraft positions in Lebanon. In 1990, he helped negotiate the release of U.S. and foreign hostages in Iraq.

And most recently in 1999, he traveled to Belgrade with a delegation of U.S. religious officials to secure the release of three American soldiers who had been held for three months.

Jackson also called on Americans to recognize that the impasse must end not only for the safety of the soldiers, but because national security depends on it.

"It's a huge nation that we are in a standoff with," Jackson said. "This is an awesome foe."

ickle black box
10th Apr 2001, 18:19
Most of the media in the PRC is state controlled. Immediatly after the accident, they tried to gain political advantage, by viciously criticising the US, and stiring up anti US feelings.

The chinese people now wrongly believe that 'an illegal US spy plane deliberatly caused a mid-air collision, killing one of their pilots, in their airspace'.

Even if the chinese government accept that an US appology isn't justified, they need to be able to give the people of China this appology, because they layed the blame on the US in the first place.

If they do not get the appology, the chinese government will have appeared to back down to the mighty US. If the US gives an appology, they will look really bad in China, for leaving it for so long.


10th Apr 2001, 19:31
The problem with apologizing is exactly what we are apologizing for!

The chinese want us to apologize for flying an aircraft perfectly legally in international airspace. If we apologize for the spy plane flights we then cannot do them anymore because we will have said that we were wrong.

As we are an Ally of Taiwan and might someday have to come to the defense of Taiwan, there is NO WAY I would agree to ending legal intelligence gathering that might one day save the lives of considerably more than the 24 service men currently held hostage by the Chinese.

Even if it means the loss of the 24, we should not apologize, however we should not forget the 24 either. China is the agressor here, not us, and they should be apologizing.

Apparenly this hotshot made to previous passes as close as 3 feet before the inevitable happened and he clipped off his tail on the number 1 propellor.


10th Apr 2001, 20:05

Trusting in the international news accounts and the known damage, here's the scene:

1. These EP-3 aircraft have been cruising in international airspace, doing their 'monitoring' mission for quite a while.

2. In international airspace, the Chinese fighters have been harrassing the aircraft for some time, with prior protest to the Chinese by the USA.

3. In the case of this EP-3, from the news accounts, the fighters approach from the rear, Zhao, pulls ahead, while Wei clips the trailing edge of the EP-3, at least one prop and takes off the nose cone of the U.S. plane with his rudder.

4. After Wei bails out, Zhao asks permission to shoot down the damaged EP-3 in international airspace - now turning away, trying to get clear of the area.

5. With permission to shoot down the aircraft denied, Zhao forces the EP-3 (presumably with tracers fired) to land on Hainen Island.

6. Zhao couldn't have seen the collision, but now describes an impossible scenario.

7. Now, the USA is supposed to apologize???

Then, while the U.S. media refuses to portray the most obvious facts of the matter to the American public, Jesse Jackson (who has portrayed himself as a pretty scummy character with his personal 'affairs' - not the 'stuff' of a diplomat) says that the U.S. should apologize and seeks permission from the directoress of the NSA (which has no diplomatic mission) to mediate the release of the crew.

Is it my imagination, or, is there something really screwy in this picture???

10th Apr 2001, 21:07
Screwy = International politics = International Business = us being mushrooms

The whole thing aint right


10th Apr 2001, 22:51
From all the news reports and for the most part the very interesting posts I've read on this thread, there appears to be a major power play in progress in China.

The main players are the Chinese diplomats who seem to be looking for a way out vs. the militarists (who for a long time have thought China was going to hell in a hand basket).

If the hot-dogging jet jock is anything to show the world to what lengths their superiors allow them to risk themselves and others, then we can pretty well tell that this aggressiveness is being condoned by the upper brass. The word is coming from above.

Thrown in between the suits and the uniforms are the often corrupt Chinese businessmen who don't want to end good relations with the U.S., because that would end their lucrative careers. Just how much power is held by the business lobby, is just a guess.

If the U.S. gets on its knees and aplogizes for this unfortunate incident, they are dead either way. Even at the hint of a future, even minor, incident that the Chinese don't like, they'll have a past precedent to kick them in the face. This is the world's most populous country that had the world's largest inferiority complex. They have to win even before playing the game.

If the Americans don't apologize, then China is faced with a huge dilemna. There are billions and billions of foreign capital invested in China, and if the American's started pulling out, it may deeply hurt the Chinese economy. Unemployment will skyrocket in the new mega-cities, as well as in provinces. In fact, the world will be left without clothes. Soon we may all be walking naked, not listening to the radio, or watching TV. I won't be able to post this garbage on the internet, because most of my computer's components are made in China.

Are the Chinese ready to give all this up just to save face over an incident that was their fault from the start. I say with reserve -- maybe. The most recent example was the Cultural Revolution, and this time they could set themselves back 50 years -- just about as old as the original Orion.

11th Apr 2001, 02:56
It's ironic that everyone's getting so Cold War and martial over this. I hear that the dead Chinaman had been making close passes holding up his E-Mail address, which kind of puts a friendlier light on what was an accident.

Leanan Sidhe
11th Apr 2001, 04:13
This isn't about who was or wasn't at fault for an aircraft collision in international airspace. This is both a matter of cultural differences, and of China's insistence that they be taken seriously by the American government (and indeed, the international theater).

Aside from the obvious fact that the U.S. military has far better hardware, than the EP-3, equipped for for the task of high level covert operations--the EP-3 is perfectly suited for recon in international airspace.
Information gathering is a routine part of every comprehensive defence program; the mere sight of an EP-3 does not necessitate its operation as being "covert"--and it most certainly does not warrant what might easily be interpreted as threatening maneuvers on the part of interceptor aircraft.

Pride invariably becomes a factor when nations realize they're being watched--this is the point at which these aicraft (including their respective crews) become spokes on the wheel.
The scope of the problem can no longer be understood in terms of a stand-alone incident, it becomes an issue for two nations who've much to gain from political posturing in order to gain a percieved advantage.

With that understanding, the wise play is for the U.S. to negotiate terms allowing Colin Powell to extend his private apologies to the families of lost airmen and issue a public statement of general regret (without any particular reference to what matter warrants the statement) thus allowing both China and the D.O.D. to "save face", as it were, while not precluding continued diplomatic relations (however strained at the moment).

This isn't just wise for American foreign policy--it's the smart play for many other smaller/less powerful nations who stand to become infinitely more vulnerable if our diplomatic relations with China fray completely.

Lu Zuckerman
11th Apr 2001, 04:20
Perhaps we can blame the contact between the two aircraft on Bernoulli. Assuming that the fighter got a bit too close to the underside of the P3Cs wing and by closing in on the underside of the wing the fighter created a Venturi effect and the pressure gradient under the P3Cs wing decreased and the higher pressure under the wing of the F-8 caused it to rise up, and be contacted by the props. That way some of the blame can be shared by the Chinese pilot who got a bit too close but the contact between the two aircraft was caused by a scientific phenomenon and not by the US Navy pilot steering into him.

Having worked in the Middle East for three years I can see that there is a shared mentality between the Asians and the Moslems. Whenever a round eye is involved in an accident it is always his or her fault. Their reasoning is that the accident would never happened if the round eye was not there.

The Cat

11th Apr 2001, 04:22
A few interesting Piccies sent to me a bit second hand - so to speak. Apparently these were taken from a previous sortie. The text that came with them says :

These pictures were taken by a lady Naval Flight Officer who was on board the downed Navy Electra in China. These pictures were taken 2 days prior to the mid air collision. She e-mailed these to her husband before the accident.




Piccies moved to indirect HTML for page speed. The first one is the best. It looks to me as though the pilot is holding up a message of some kind. Interesting - is this the reported email address.

[This message has been edited by Carthorse (edited 11 April 2001).]

11th Apr 2001, 05:55
It would be nice to see all future EP3 missions to be accompanied by some F15 escorts with a KC135 in tow .
This would certainly be a major deterrent for any dangerous activity planned by these rogue Chinese airman out to make a name for themselves by playing chicken with American lives.

As for the Chinese version of events which is unbelievable to the extreme , it would be fair to say that honesty and integrity will never be one of the countries strong points. You've only got to look at their steroid laden athletes to realize they will never play by anyones rules , except their own.

China is quite obviously attempting to portray a tough guy image on the world stage , but bullying would be a more appropriate description.
I'd be happy to see them pay a heavy price economically for their behaviour to date.
If they continue holding the crew as prisoners , the U.S should halt all trade . It would cripple them and it would be poetic justice.
Personally , I'd be happy to never eat Chinese again or buy any of the low quality rubbish churned out by their slave crewed factories.

They can all go to buggery !!

[This message has been edited by TimeisShort (edited 11 April 2001).]

Rogaine addict
11th Apr 2001, 09:02
Lets cut off trade with the Chinese effective immediately. If they want it back, they give our crewmembers back and we'll think about resuming based on their prompt concessions. A lasting trade embargo would put a huge dent in their military budget. As an U.S. citizen, I'm tired of "turning the other cheek", it's time to kick someone in the nuts.

11th Apr 2001, 10:32
I agree hit the Chinese where it hurts, they are also very sensitive over the human rights issue (probably because the average Chinese citizen does not have many rights).
It would reduce the chances of them getting the 2008 Olympics.
During the Korean and Vietnam wars there are many reports of US aircrew being transported to China, these brave men never came back.

1 of many
11th Apr 2001, 11:55
Ignition Override

Thanks, at least you can see what I meant. This sort of work is sadly, necessary.

If they want the crew home AND what remains of the aircraft, the most expeditious way is apologize, say what it takes.

THEN carry on with what you were going to do anyway.

Isn't this a plot in a Tom Clancy novel?

As for Jesse Jackson, is he in need of a BJ from a Chinese girl now then?

11th Apr 2001, 12:39
I like Carthorse's pictures, and would have no reason to disbelieve their very recent origin, but for the fact that they show two aircraft, but with three serial numbers: 1097, 1192, 1196. Two (or more)intercepts on the same sortie? Or just taken from the J8 archive to make a point?

11th Apr 2001, 14:52
Splendid news (if true) from the BBC.

The US air crew detained in China are to be released, Chinese state media has said.
A statement read on television and radio said the Americans would be released as soon as "appropriate travel procedures were completed".

On Tuesday, both sides in the spy plane dispute appeared to be edging towards resolution of the dispute.

US State Department officials said that in a draft document offered to Beijing, the US expresses regret for landing on Chinese soil without permission. The letter also regrets for the loss of the Chinese pilot who collided with the US plane.

Meanwhile, China's state-run media began reporting comments made by US Secretary of State Colin Powell three days ago, in which he expresses sorrow for last week's collision of a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter.

Preparing public opinion

The media reporting, correspondents say, was preparing public opinion for an announcement that a deal to return the crew of the US spy plane has been reached.

The two sides had been locked in a diplomatic deadlock for more than 10 days, with Washington refusing to meet Beijing demands for an apology.

Chinese pilot Wang Wei has been lionised by the state media

The 24 crew members and the US surveillance plane are being held on the Chinese island of Hainan.

On Tuesday, Chinese President Jiang Zemin expressed confidence that an agreement could be reached with the US to end the dispute.

"I trust in the ability of both countries to resolve this issue," said Jiang, who is on a six-nation tour of Latin America.

US officials have refused to apologise outright because they do not believe the collision was their fault. The US also maintains that the accident occurred in international airspace.

Sense of outrage

Correspondents say the precise wording, and the extent of regret, offered by the US in writing was crucial because Chinese leaders needed something to show the public, whose sense of outrage over the incident has been heightened by anti-US rhetoric in state media.

They also say Chinese officials appear to be preparing to announce the death of the missing airman, Wang Wei.

The announcement of the pilot's death and the abandonment of a massive search for him is being seen as a vital part of bringing this dispute towards a conclusion.

State media have lionized the pilot, Wang Wei, as a patriot who crashed defending his country. Reports say more than 1,000 military and civilian vessels have joined the search for him.

Now question is did they arrive with their passports :)

11th Apr 2001, 16:00
Just a theory/thought, I wonder if all this is about China 'testing' the resolve of the US government and public opinion, with a view to their future plans for annexing Taiwan.

If the US are seen to be compliant/soft on this aircraft issue what chance for Taiwan.

11th Apr 2001, 16:05
Zuckerman - aka The Cat

I'd forgotten how much I appreciated the insight of your technical mind!

I've missed you most of all Scarecrow :)

11th Apr 2001, 16:12
CNN reports that the Chinese Foreign Ministry has just announced that the 24-member crew are to be released as soon as travel logistics are completed.

The Foreign Ministry, CNN says, sees this as a "humanitarian" gesture and also because the U.S. has said it is "very sorry." It didn't mention sorry about what.

11th Apr 2001, 17:09
I feel the same way about this deal as I did when Pres Bush Senior managed to snatch stalemate from the jaws of victory in the Gulf War. I hope there is more to the matter than meets the eye, and that the US will not regret this action.

11th Apr 2001, 17:10
Very pleased to hear of the release of the crew. Also very pleased that the US has said "very sorry." This administration could do with a dose of humility.

11th Apr 2001, 17:27
Good pic at the following:


Sorry in advance if this is old hat or repeat posting..

11th Apr 2001, 17:33
Great News-

Not wanting to stoke up any resentment here, but I personally don't see this "very sorry" gesture as an actual apology;

Rather, they are sorry to the CHINESE PEOPLE for the mess that this unfortunate incident has caused.

I don't think the "sorry" was an admission of guilt on the US side though, as they still do not acknowledge that they were in the wrong.

Still, it was good enough for the Bosses in Beijing, so jolly good!

Good Morning Buenos Aires

11th Apr 2001, 18:12

There's no telling what deal was made in the back room, however, the facts would be interesting if they are ever permitted to be told. Glad to hear they are coming home. Now to see what happens to the aircraft.

THIN ALBERT - Do you find justice in child molestations, also??

11th Apr 2001, 20:32

"George senior managed to steal stalemate from the jaws of victory"

This thinking is quite popular, and alot of people believe we should have marched all the way to Baghdad, However, as one who flew during Desert Storm I disagree. First, at least here in the US alot of people were against the war, I heard about it being another Vietnam, Boddy bags would be coming home by the thousands etc etc....So, Politically if ONE single US soldier had died marching to Baghdad, his grieving Mother would be plastered on every TV and Newspaper in America. All the Anti-war forces would decry "why are we fighting in Iraq, when our ststed purpose was to free Kuwait?" etc etc ......I personally feel Bush Sr. was right, because I believe that whoever replaces Saddam, will not be much different anyway....And the Ass-whipping his pathetic armed forces took was lesson enough.

12th Apr 2001, 03:31

"Preparations for the release appeared to begin before sunrise Thursday. At 5:45 a.m., a convoy of two minivans and several cars pulled out of the military guest house where the crew have been held and arrived at the airport at Haikou, the capital of southern Hainan island.

Moments earlier, a Continental Airlines plane landed and taxied to a remote part of the tarmac, hundreds of yards from the terminal. Security guards stopped civilians from nearing the area."

A 737-800, at that.

12th Apr 2001, 03:43
A good thing they released them to.

Wednesday morning we arrested 36 Chinese nationals who entered Canadian territorial waters illegally. We're now willing to send them back to China, no apology required. Please, please come get them.

12th Apr 2001, 04:31
Sure, Roc, you were there. I was flying past in a civilian 747 (it seemed to be over that quick). The point of the criticism from many of us is that the "war" was being prosecuted very well, and looked like it would be as clean and quick as it could be, and worth the loss of life and money it cost. Don't forget that Iraq had escalated the war by attacking Israel and Saudi Arabia and it was not just a matter of tossing them out of Kuwait, as the apologists now claim it was. It was a war that was presented to the world in real time on TV and even after the event there did not appear to be any other agenda than the one given, which was to make Iraq unable to threaten its neighbours, and to destroy its weapons of mass destruction. Forcing them out of Kuwait was only the first step.
And, in a now typical US move, the war was taken over by the politicians and utterly corrupted. As it turns out, it would be safe to say that Saddam not only got a stalemate, he got a victory. Leaving Saddam free to re-build, with the major part of his army intact, made the loss of life, civilian as well as military and on both sides, pointless.
Just as the Chinese are indoctrinated by their own propaganda, so are the Americans (my father in law is a Kansas farmer and he believes everything CNN tells him to believe. In my experience, typical behaviour. And don't start me on what California teaches my kids in school!). We are upset when Japan changes history in its school text books, but don't care when the US does the same. Go figure...
I just hope that this is not the end of it, since the Chinese will now feel free to rule the South China Sea, and its neighbours, with force. If they could make the world's only super power back down in humiliation (that's the way they will see it) there is no limit to what they can do. How can the US now send another "Spy" plane into the area without showing its word is worthless? And how many escorts will be needed? On the surface, it looks as if the US has lost this one, big-time. Hope I am wrong.

Leanan Sidhe
12th Apr 2001, 05:34
At the risk of being too philosophical for R&N, you need to keep in mind lad that many things are more important than one nation's foolish pride.
The Gulf War was shrouded in the suspicion (of many Americans) that we were there as much to preserve unusually low oil prices for the region as we were to stick a boot in Saddam's arse on more noble grounds.
That man has brutalized his countrymen so thoroughly, that through sheer terror or white-knuckled-insanity, they peole obliged to acknowledge him as a near God.
At one point, we had the advantage of intelligence and position that would've allowed us to wipe the twisted b*stard up. The reasoning behind not doing it was that we are loathe to create a martyr of him and (as ROC rightly pointed out) we could not guarantee that his replacement wouldn't be equally unstable.
Sometimes the 'devil' you know is safer than the one you don't.
This situation with China was a far more delicate than it may have seemed. A statement of regret is hardly a cowardly move and a relatively small price to pay for maintaining diplomactic relations. The U.S. isn't at liberty to go off half-cocked--we have a great responsibility to consider the implications, not only or ourselves, but for those who rely on our diplomatic influence (backed by threat of less pleasant alternatives) for their security or even their autonomy.

Very few things in life are anywhere near as simple as they seem--there is no shame in overcoming force through yeilding--just ask any black belt in martial arts ;)

12th Apr 2001, 06:24
To LS, yes you are right, and I agree with you 100%, but it is not what I think that is important (my wife reminds me of that all the time). It is what China thinks that counts. Based on their way of spinning what has happened, they will base their future actions. You (and maybe I) can think logically, but China, and the nations it seeks to dominate, do not.
The similarity with Iraq is striking to me, since Saddam remains a real threat to the peace and stability of the world, when he could have been stopped, or at least put back many years. No doubt he will be replaced by someone just as bad, but maybe not. Whoever it is cannot be worse, and if the Gulf War had been allowed to continue to the point where Iraq was on it's knees, we would at least have had breathing space; for example we could have arms inspectors in country.
I am not suggesting that the US take a hard line with China, but what they have done could hardly be seen as anything other than Kowtowing, with all of it's implications. Would Bill have done it any other way? And has China learned that the US, under the new President, can be pushed around?
Was the South China Morning Post report correct about the actions of the Chinese after the collision? Does the agreement between the two nations now mean that the US cannot fly reconnaisance in the South China Sea? What about the next time the Chinese intercept a P3? I would bet that there are some unhappy people in Taiwan right now.
I will watch with interest the events in Asia over the next months.

12th Apr 2001, 07:39

Iraq was a different matter. Hussein is the 'known devil' who buffers Israel and Iran. He's relatively easy to control.

The U.S. openly facilitated Hussein before the fact, including April Gillespie claiming that the U.S. was indifferent to Hussein's plans. Don't forget whose money Hussein was operating on, with the further facilitation of the USA. Israel was on top of Hussein all the way. Don't forget Gerald Bull & the 'super gun.' Hussein was nobody's surprise, before, during or after.

The test of this mess with China is to be found in future rhetoric which will escape mainstream news.

If this event is used as a spring-board (don't forget they are keeping the aircraft), this could be an escalation to further moves by China.

God only knows what deals were made in the background. It's all about money. This was no minor event.

Time will tell; watch closely.

12th Apr 2001, 12:17
For those interested in the dreaded 'big picture', it should come as absolutely no surprise that the Americans left Saddam Hussein in place. (Although, I think I could say without too much fear of contradiction that the powers-that-be in Washington in 1991 would have preferred, for US home consumption, that one of his equally despotic lieutenants toppled him.)

The magic words in that last statement were equally despotic. Whoever took over had to be a tyrant, and a damn ruthless one at that. How else would he have had the clout to topple SH? It didn't matter who he was of how bad he was, it just would have looked better to Mom and Pop America if a new despot was running Iraq rather than the one the US had demonised in late 1990.

The US encouraged the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs in the south to rebel in the period Aug 90 to Jan 91, and for many reasons, they obliged. But when the ceasefire was signed, the US - (and Europe) - quite purposely gave SH carte blanche to clean up both rebel groups, (eg, giving him permission to use his rotary wing air forces), because it was vitally important to the US that Iraq continued to exist as an entity. Three reasons for this come to mind:
1. The Americans needed a potentially strong(ish) Iraq to counter Iran should that nation ever flex its muscles in the Gulf area again.
2.Even more importantly, they needed a 'bogey man' in place to:
(a) convince Congress and the US populace that they had to keep building lots an' lostsa new and improved armaments, and probably far more importantly -
(b) convince the Saudis and the Gulf States of the need of an ongoing large US military presence in the Gulf.
3. Had Iraq fragmented, one of the more potentially viable new states that would have come into existence would have been the nation of Kurdistan, which most unfortunately for the Americans, would, very quickly after establishing itself in northern Iraq, have began demanding that rather large part of eastern Turkey that is populated almost totally by ethnic Kurds. Turkey is NATO's vital southern flank, both for operations against the CIS and against Iraq and or Iran. The Americans - and Europe - simply couldn't have that.

Realpolitik held sway and those poor people in the north and south of Iraq who had believed the Americans and rose up against SH were butchered wholesale, sometimes with US and other Allied troops looking helplessly only mere hundreds of metres away. I'm not saying I would have done it any differently given the rather bleak choices George Bush senior was offered, but don't anyone ever say that politics isn't a really dirty business.

On a lighter note, and back to something at least approaching the real subject of this thread, here's an e-mail I received only this morning from a friend in the States.

To: Chairman of the Peoples Republic of China

Dear Mr. Chairman:

Speaking on behalf of the United States of America and its citizens, we officially say that we are sorry that you've killed millions of your own people during your Communist revolution.

We're sorry that you killed millions of your own people during the Cultural Revolution.

We're sorry you killed thousands of your own people in Tiananmen Square.

We're sorry that you continue to imprison and kill the Falun Gong.

We're sorry that you have stolen our nuclear and missile technology.

We're sorry you are able to buy a presidential election, maybe two.

We're sorry the Clinton Administration allowed the Loral Corporation to transfer the technology to enable you to launch satellites and develop intercontinental missiles.

We're sorry that you allow your countrymen to pirate our software, our movies, our hardware products, our books, our music and how you completely disregard our copyright laws.

And we're sorry that Senator Dianne Feinstein, whose husband has investments in your country, couldn't keep her mouth shut when attempting to apologize in the name of our country (which she didn't have the right to do in the first place).

We're sorry you do not allow free speech or allow freedom of religion.

We're sorry that you do not have due process of law.

We're sorry that you have been engaged for decades in a brutal aggression toward and repression of the people of Tibet.

We're sorry your pilots aren't better trained in flying in close formation.

We're sorry that your Navy and Air Force continue to threaten your neighbors in the South China Sea over Island concessions and the freedom of the seas.

We're sorry that your leadership continues to threaten the people of Taiwan who do not wish to be a part of China and wish to continue to live their lives peacefully and prosperously which will not happen if they are part of China.

We're sorry you kept a 5 year old American boy hostage in your nation; have imprisoned his mother on unspecified and unsubstantiated charges; and that you run interviews of your pilot's widow, while our witnesses are held hostage and cannot tell their story.

We're especially sorry that we continue to buy the goods of a country that is clearly our enemy.

And finally Mr. Chairman, we are truly sorry and disappointed that the nation who so bravely fought Japan during WW2 has deteriorated into the lying, murderous, aggressive, fiends that you have become.

Does this work for you, Mr. Chairman? Probably not, but that's our apology

12th Apr 2001, 13:33

Please E-mail me, soonest!



12th Apr 2001, 17:34

Don't forget that the U.S. (you know who) didn't have a single agent inside Iraq, prior to the war. Afterward, the Kurd elite (and some 'helpers) were airlifted to resettlement areas en masse, via Guam. Most of these ended up in Virginia.

12th Apr 2001, 21:58
Getting back to the original theme. Anybody got any sound information how they got the `stricken beastie' on the ground after the mid-air?

13th Apr 2001, 19:32
Probably with all the skill one summons up when the plane is going down with multiple engine failures.
'Sorry that a pilot died, Sorry that our plane was forced to land without permission. Does not nor should it constitute an admission of guilt. Being rammed in International airspace is being assaulted.
'Friendly gesture?' Next Chinese pilot trying to be friendly with his email address would do well to use bigger writing, larger piece of paper and try to keep his empennage out of the propellors. It might just avoid killing someone, creating a major diplomatic row, and possibly averting a war!!!
To the US Navy glad you got your boys and girls back and keep up the good work, someone has to keep a watch on what is happening behind the bamboo curtain because it does and will ultimately affect us all one day.

13th Apr 2001, 20:03
Crew members of the United States spy plane detained in China are blaming the Chinese fighter pilot for the collision that brought
their aircraft down, it has emerged.

Pentagon officials indicate that evidence gathered during an intensive 12-hour debriefing session confirms their long-held view that
the faster and more manoeuvrable Chinese fighter plane was responsible for the clash - not the slower American spy plane.

BBC on-line

13th Apr 2001, 21:34
A Chinese fighter jet made two close passes at a United States surveillance aircraft before hitting the plane and snapping in two, US diplomats have said.
The diplomats also said the crew of the spy
plane had succeeded in destroying its
top-secret equipment before disembarking from
the plane on Hainan island.And they added that the pilot, Lieutenant Shane Osborn, had sent 15 to 25 distress calls and followed internationally accepted procedures before
making an emergency landing at the Chinese
military airfield.
Their account contradicts much of what the
Chinese have said about the 1 April incident,
as the US stance hardens following the release of the 24 crew members.
With sharpened rhetoric on both sides - and no guarantees from Beijing that it will return the US Navy EP-3 surveillance plane - the diplomatic row appears to be far from resolved.
Not intentional.
Pentagon officials have indicated that evidence gathered during an intensive
debriefing session confirms their long-held view that the faster and more manoeuvrable
Chinese fighter plane was responsible for the
clash - not the slower American spy plane.
The unnamed US sources said the Chinese pilot
had apparently not intended to ram the US
plane. "It was a rendezvous that was not
accomplished very well", the diplomat said.
A diplomatic source also said the crew
destroyed equipment on the plane - part of
standard operating procedure when such a
craft goes down - while it was surrounded
by Chinese troops.
"The crew accomplished all of its checklist", the source said.

BBC on-line

13th Apr 2001, 22:26
Makes all of us who've worn the Wings of Gold proud...


Crippled Plane's Pilot Hailed as Hero
'Born to Fly' Airman Nursed Plane 70 Miles to Safety

By Edward Walsh
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 13, 2001; Page A18

When Shane Osborn was in high school in Norfolk, Neb., he knew that his football coach, Dan McLaughlin, had been in the Air Force. Intensely interested in aviation, Osborn peppered McLaughlin with questions about how he joined the Air Force and what it was like.

Osborn didn't know it then, but his coach, a linguist, had regularly flown aboard Air Force surveillance aircraft in the Middle East in the 1970s.

Now Osborn, 26, is at the center of international attention over U.S. surveillance flights. The Navy lieutenant was the pilot of the EP-3E Aries II turboprop plane that collided with a Chinese jet over the South China Sea on April 1, resulting in the loss of the Chinese aircraft and its pilot.

Osborn managed to nurse his crippled aircraft about 70 miles to an emergency landing on Hainan Island. He landed without permission -- though after broadcasting a "Mayday" -- starting an 11-day standoff between the United States and China. He also saved the lives of the 24 U.S. military personnel aboard the plane.

It was "a spectacular feat of airmanship," Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, a Pentagon spokesman, said this week.

Osborn, it seems, was almost born to fly.

Even as a 3-year-old, he showed a fascination with planes, his mother, Diana Osborn, recalled in a telephone interview. At the time the family was living on a farm in South Dakota, and the farmer owned a small, two-seat aircraft. The hangar "wasn't far enough from the house," Osborn's mother said. "You had to watch [Shane] or he would take off and climb into the plane."

The farmer took the young boy on rides, and the seeds of a future aviator were planted.

Osborn's parents divorced when he was 5. He and his sister, Lynnette, four years older, grew up in Norfolk under the watchful eye of their single mother, a nurse who usually worked two jobs. At Norfolk High School, Osborn was popular with classmates and was both a good student -- graduating in the top 10 percent of his class -- and a good athlete, a starting wide receiver on the football team.

Jim Kubick, a government teacher at the school, said Osborn was not shy about expressing opinions in class. "Some kids are quiet and others are outgoing," he said. "I remember him as a kid you could count on to participate. That's leadership right there."

Osborn's strongest interests, however, were science, mathematics and flying. He joined the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary organization of the Air Force that introduces young people to aviation. When he joined, said Sharon Sanford, who was administrative officer of the local Civil Air Patrol unit, Osborn was a typical long-haired teenager who often did not bother to wear his uniform. But soon enough, she said, he had his hair cut short and became meticulous about his appearance.

"You have to wear the uniform to fly," Sanford said.

Diana Osborn said her son could have attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point but "wasn't interested in the Army because he wanted to fly." In high school, Osborn declared his intention to become an Air Force officer, but after he enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he joined the Navy ROTC program. His mother, whose cousin had graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, said she encouraged him to consider the Navy because it also would allow him to fly.

Osborn majored in mathematics in college. Steven Dunbar, one of his math teachers, recalled Osborn avidly recounting a Navy ROTC training exercise. "They strapped him in an [jet's] ejection seat and dropped him upside down in a pool and he had to escape," Dunbar said. "I can understand the training, but it's not something I would want to do. He sort of enjoyed the experience. He was a nice kid."

Osborn graduated from college and was commissioned in the Navy in 1996. After flight training, he joined his first Navy squadron two years later. Chad Gillespie, a boyhood friend, said he was not surprised that Osborn had fulfilled the dream of the 3-year-old who took to the sky with the farmer-pilot.

"When he said something, he shot after it," Gillespie said. "He achieved high."

14th Apr 2001, 08:47
After reading Airbubba's post, I couldn't help but smile and go back to my post of 5 April, (see page 5 of this thread). Here's the bit that amused me: "...(And can you imagine the cries of outrage in the US media if it been damaged after hitting a USAF F15, possibly killing its pilot, Lt Charles 'Chuck' Buckeymeyer III, who we for sure would be told, was once an Eagle Scout and played quarterback for his mom-an'-apple-pie Norman Rockwell-esque midwest small town high school football team?)"

Some things never change.

Great news that the crew are all back home safely. Even greater news that the powers-that-be seem to be happy that they did all that was expected of them before opening the doors to the PLAAF. (But, with tongue just a little in cheek, I'd hazard a guess to say that at this moment, as they undergo their 'intensive de-briefings', they're all probably looking back more than a little fondly to the time they spent locked up by the Chinese!!!)

14th Apr 2001, 17:12
C'mon guys.....???

Would you allow your neighbour to peek into your marital home? Deliberately? Intentionally? IT'S A SPY PLANE!!!

The pilot of the US aircraft must be commended for his skilll to land the aircraft safely - no questions asked. Both pilots were brainwashed into believing their cause was just.

The US got caught out. The consequences were not so good, for either side. Please don't be so naieve to believe CNN. We're educated professionals (I hope!!!).


14th Apr 2001, 18:27
NO GATEWAY that wasn't like looking into your marital home.

It was like looking from the street onto someone's front lawn. Then the onwner of the house runs out into the street with a baseball bat and hits the person walking down the street who looked at their yard. PEOPLE GO TO JAIL FOR THAT.

There is NO EXCUSE for downing an aircraft 50 miles outside of your territory.

No defense of China on this one.


14th Apr 2001, 19:03

The U.S. or any nation can do anything it wants in international airspace - period, end of sentence - that includes spying.

EP-3 a spy plane - you bet. It's like the American "Assault Weapon;" is there another kind??? GATEWAY said it best, "...C'mon guys....?"

Satellites or aircraft, spying happens. China simply prefers to do it with their people inside U.S. laboratories, with the target nation's president facilitating the effort. The U.S. justice department had to be embarrassed into taking action. Let's not forget the special tools slipped into the McDonald Douglas shipments to China.

That doesn't give the Chinese fighters a license to play grab-ass within 20 feet of anybody's aircraft in international airspace, as a habit, whether it's called harrassment or not.

The damage attests to Wei hitting the EP-3 from the rear, at high speed. There is no justification for that action in international airspace, unless an act-of-war is being effected.

All the spin-doctoring in the world can't change the basic facts. Just because China doesn't like it, there is no legitimate justification for what the fighter did.

So now, China has portrayed itself as a garbage entity, willing to lie to the max about anything it chooses. Good going, China. Clinton's pals need more Chinese products to sell, so, get back to work, or the U.S. will insist on narrowing the trade margin gap. This is about money.

Conversely, if anyone wants to blame the U.S. for being stupid or complicit, I won't be the one to argue.

There can be no doubt that the re-taking of Taiwan is the underlying issue. If Taiwan doesn't become the next Pearl Harbor (set up by the U.S.), I'd really be surprised. After all, Clinton's gang gave China the tools it needs for nuclear cruise missiles.

Behind it all is the control of the Spratly and Parcel Island offshore oil fields - we'd better get used to that one, alone.

Just the facts -


"Gateway" is right. There should be no doubt that Oswald acted alone. His two 180 degree 'bank shots' hitting JFK in the throat & face from the rear were particularly good. Dumping the pristine bullet on Connaly's stretcher was good too. I never figured out how he made it from Parkland Hospital to the theater in time to get arrested, though. Killing the Dallas cop en route to the theater was equally clever. All that without benefit of a car.

It was good that Warren refused to hear Jack Ruby's testimony [anti-Semitism, no doubt]. Ruby was a liar, anyway - only ONE trip to Cuba? However, he was a good shot with a .38.

Sirhan Sirhan must have gone to the same school as Oswald. He fired seven shots from the front, RFK dies from four shots hitting him from the lower rear. At least Sirhan confessed.

Just the facts -

[This message has been edited by SKYDRIFTER (edited 14 April 2001).]

17th Apr 2001, 02:32
It was provocative behaviour by the EP-3E, although perfectly (?) legal.

To paraphrase Wino:

"It was like the same person walking outside your house, every day, peering into your teenage daughter's bedroom with binoculars and threatening to flash her, day in, day out. And it's in a town with a lax sherrif, so the home-owners sons (knowing they can't just run out into the street with a baseball bat and hit the person) run out and jostle him, trying to joggle his binoculars, get between him and the bedroom window, and generally trying to stop him spying. Then one day one of the two sons accidentally trips the guy over, and falls himself, breaking his neck. The pervert twists his ankle and goes to the house for help. The home-owner locks the pervert in the cellar and goes through his pockets, questions him closely, but eventually lets him go - but keeps the binoculars. He's acted illegally by detaining the peeping Tom, and by stealing the binoculars. AND PEOPLE GO TO JAIL FOR THAT. But was there blame on only one side?"

I'm glad the USN guys are back home with their families. They did their job well, and deserve the free world's thanks. But let's at least acknowledge that this tragedy resulted from an accident in what is a dangerous and morally dodgy game, and that the people who've really suffered are the wife and family of the Chinese pilot.

17th Apr 2001, 10:18
JeezzUS, Jacko, I'd hate to face you in a debate. Very well put and very persuasive argument.

17th Apr 2001, 10:58
Jacko -

You need a shrink!

If the supposed teenage daughter was locally famous for posessing firearms and known to be planning to use explosives on the neighbors, the cops would have the binoculars with a court order. At least get it into logical perspective.

Wiley - I can't believe you bought into that - assuming you're not Jacko with a second name.

17th Apr 2001, 13:55

Apologies if it's a repost, couldn't find this pic on the site yet.

17th Apr 2001, 15:09
Here I am, back for more verbal punishment, SkyD. I hope I've made it very clear from earlier posts that I'm no apologist for the PRC, but you've got to admit, Jacko's point was well made. Forget the politics and the fact that we all "know" the PRC are the bad guys. (But national pride being just about universal, I'm sure the average Joe in the streets of Shanghai might not agree with you, especially as he only gets the official Chinese Government version of this incident and other world events from the State-run media.)

But just pause for a moment and switch the characters and locations in this little fracas.

I accept that the PRC pulled off some very successful intel coups in the US over the last eight years without having to fly in anything more high tech than a commercial 747 - thanks in no small part to the joke the US had for a president in those years. But let's get serious and say for one moment that they were forced to get their intel the same way the Americans are. Could you imagine the way the American military AND public would react to almost daily flights of a PRC "spy plane" 60nm off the coast of Long Island or Santa Catalina Island?

Do yourself a favour and go to your video store and rent the excellent 1960's movie "The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!". (Which was considered by some Americans as dagerous Left Wing propaganda at the time.) Even 30+ years later, I think that gives a pretty god answer to my hypothetical question.

17th Apr 2001, 15:41

You are confusing Hollywood with reality.

The Russians used to send their BOMBERS along the United state's coastlines repeatedly to gather intel. They would follow the coast down to Cuba, land in Cuba work on their tan, then reverse the trip.

We didn't ram their bombers and excersized FAR more control of our pilots than the Chinese did.

The chinese overfly our carriers and whatnot for intel, again, they are escorted NOT RAMMED. The facts are we have always permitted that sort of flight around the US. We will send fighters up to escort from an acceptable internationally accepted distance to make sure that they aren't bombers and don't get a head start into the country.

And mind you this is when Russia was our sworn enemy! China wants to be "friends". They want US dollars. They want to trade with us, and want us to bow to their wishes who we sell things too. Well, that wasn't friendly at all, and I see know reason to listen to China for the forseeable future. I also see this as proof that SDI is needed. I hope an all out anti missle program is started on the next budget. Furthermore, it should be granted to Taiwan for FREE.

You really need your head examined if you can defend china's actions in any way, shape, or form.


17th Apr 2001, 16:51
Wiley -

Wino is quite correct. Further, there is a long history of "fishing vessels' doing the same thing. The U.S. response is to further secure our own communications and monitor our own to make such espionage non-productive.

Throwing out dramatic - and often irrational - analogies doesn't alter the basic facts such as international airspace. If the U.S. was grabbing vessels and planes from international airspace, I'm with you. The U.S. doesn't.

If the U.S. is wrong - and we are in some dramatic ways, such as Bosnia, I'll be the first to criticize. This doesn't approach being such a case.

Further, the China standoff is a step toward the next Pearl Harbor, get that one in your head.

If you want to blame the U.S. for setting up the China incident by leaving the EP-3 unprotected when we knew that such a collision was imminent - I'm with you. However, please stay within reasonable bounds.

The upcoming EP-3 flights with the coverage of an aircraft carrier will be another matter. Stay tuned.

17th Apr 2001, 17:54
The US used to intercept and escort marauding 'Bears' using well trained, well-disciplined, democratically accountable F-15 and F-106 pilots. It was not held to be politically acceptable to 'hot dog' the enemy too enthusiastically (though that didn't always stop our chaps), and when they did get 'up close and personal', intimidating the Russian pilots, they were well trained and skilled enough not to collide. Poor old Wang Wei probably flew less than 10 hours per month, and had little close-formation, IF, AAR experience. He didn't ram the EP-3E, he misjudged (while flying dangerously close) and accidentally hit it. And he paid the ultimate price.

But the idea that the West has happily accepted the kind of probing and snooping which we've forced on the Chinese and the Russians is ridiculous. They've never had the resources to conduct Elint ops at that level of intensity, and we've often reacted pretty hard. Remember the Tu-16 that flew into the sea while trying to escape the attentions of a pair of F-4s? Remember the Iranian Airbus which the Vincennes shot out of the sky? These kind of missions are inherently dangerous.

And what VQ-1 and the 55th SRW get up to may be legal, but damn it's provocative, especially when aimed against secretive, reactionary, totalitarian regimes who already suffer from a major persecution complex.

17th Apr 2001, 19:24
Jacko -

Persecution complex?? China???

With Clinton & company sucking up to the Chinese markets, accepting a horrendous trade imbalance, hiding the Chinese nuclear espionage, shipping tools & jigs to facilitate Chinese cruise missiles, capable of delivering compact neutron bombs? Clinton & company crammming China down the American peoples' throats in the WTO support?

Persecution complex???

Did I miss something?

17th Apr 2001, 21:16
Wino and SkyD, with the greatest respect, I think you should accept gracefully that in the (non US) democratic world there are actually people who rightly or wrongly, have come to different conclusions on the state of the world than the 'US line'. Believe it or not, there are actually other countries outside the USA with popularly elected governments where people are allowed to speak their minds and such opinions might not agree entirely with US policy.

I'm first to agree that the current government of China is far from the one I'd like to live under, (or see anyone have to live under), but can you both retreat just for one minute from the position you appear to be taking and ask yourself an admittedly complex and uncomfortable question? What would have happened within China if the unquestionably incredibly courageous protesters at Tiannamen Square had prevailed and the current PRC government had been turfed out in 1989?

We may have seen a wonderful, enlightened democracy (as we in the West know it) established overnight. However, uncomfortable as it is to say so, I believe it's far more likely we'd have seen that huge country descend into a state of utter chaos that would have left Russia and the former Yugoslavia over the last ten years look like a minor school yard brawl. In modern times, it's only in the last fifty years that China hasn't been ruled by a very disparate group of (many different) warlords, most of them of the lowest possible kind. I think China would have very quickly descended into a repeat of those terrible times of the 1920's, before the Japanese entered the equation and turned the country into a charnel house but gave most of the Chinese people one enemy to fight. I'm not saying the terrible things the current PRC government have done and are doing to the Chinese people are in any way excusable, but I am saying that things there could quite easily be a whole lot worse. Think of Yugoslavia times ten thousand. That's how bad it could be if the iron fist of the current government were to be removed and not be replaced by something strong and uniting. Sadly, I don't think our Western brand of democracy would provide that.

17th Apr 2001, 22:11
First of all, from my postings on this subject you know that I believe the Chinese were at fault for this tragic accident.

Nevertheless, I also believe that Washington, now pumped up with the return of the crew, (mom, apple pie, lots of bands in the town square) does not get too carried away with its own rhetoric and try to shove this incident down the throats of the Chinese, thus leaving them with no place to retreat or to escape.

The Chinese mind works a lot differently than that of the Senator from Maine, or the President from Texas. When we say, "Yeah, we blew that one," we can come out honestly and admit it. In China, as it is in many other Asian countries, there is a lot of face saving that matters and people rarely admit to goofs.

I have not heard anyone from Sony saying "we blew it" when they introduced BETA. No, they didn't make a statement at all, but quietly withdrew and started to make all their equipment compatible with VHS. And when it does really hit them in the face, at least one, if not two, presidents or chairmen of JAL resigned after air crashes.

If I were Bush, I would not push them completely in the corner with the talks over the Hainan Island incident.

You have to remember one important thing. After World War II, China and the Soviet Union were the greatest of friends -- bosom buddies -- with larger than life-size Lenin, Stalin and Mao posters hanging all over important places. Then something happened. It was a low-key territorial dispute on the Sino-Soviet border.

The Soviets, thinking pseudo-Western, sent some bad hard-talking diplomats to negotiations with the Chinese who told Bejing (Peking at the time)in no uncertain terms to get straight or stuff it. China, instead, told Moscow to stuff it and sent several hundred thousand troops to start a border war with the Russians. It was fortunate that this border war did not develop into World War III.

Eventually both sides saw reason and withdrew, but to this very day relations between the Russians and the Chinese are cordial but icy. This piss ant border war happened more than 30 years ago and still both sides are very much on the edge and distrust the other side immensly.

I hope the U.S. gets everything it wants out of these current talks and future negotiations with the Chinese, but not at the expense of setting bilateral relations back, maybe 30 or 40 years, by demanding instead of negotiating.

18th Apr 2001, 19:34
Fascinating thread, obviously catching some interest. Interesting polarisation and analogys being put about.
Jacko,absolutely!!! 'secretive,reactionary,totalitarian...,suffering from major persecution complex...'
Now if this description fitted a neighbor of mine, and I may borrow from some of the examples being bandied around. I would consider myself as being rather less than sensible if I did not keep a weather eye out on this gent. If I considered him extreme I may even go so far to use a set of binoculars on him if I were observing some paticularly dodgy looking behaviour that I had more than a sneaking suspicion involved me (super cruiser etc).
If he then whizzed out into the public highway and fetched me a hearty wack round the ear with his baseball bat and took my bino's, yes I would consider that the behaviour might have been provocative however I would consider it criminal assault. I would ask for my property back, accepting that it might be in less than pristine condition if/when I did get it back.
I would not just piss off and stop watching.
I may just ensure that the next time I did my bat was handy, and bigger than his!
I do consider that watching one's neighbors is part of human nature. It is a) natural curiosity b) situational awareness.
both incidentaly part and parcel of self preservation.
Some obsessionaly politicaly correct/polite people are content to wander around with the blinkers up, they generaly end up in stepping into something unpleasant that they never saw coming.
Besides with neighbors fitting the preceding description who the hell needs enemies?
Paranoid you say, yes indeed I am, particularly when said neighbor has already told me he is intending to run things in my house his way if and when he gets the chance.

18th Apr 2001, 20:48
PATERBRAT...interesting analogy
What would you do if said person was using binos' to get a look at your wife in the shower...go round and have it out with him no doubt.

Lets not forget, this aircraft was not just wandering around "near" the Chinese border, it was in fact circling a brand new ultra-secret warship. It was, if reports are to be beleived, told in no uncertain terms to F**K OF* by the chinese - it chose not to.

Had the roles been revesred, I am more than certain we would have "let a few rounds off" to make the aircraft get away from our new toy. And if, god forbid, they bumped our "brave" pilot out of the sky, I dont think we would have a plane on the ground to look at...it would have blown out the sky forwith for an act of aggression.

Dont forget, this new warship could, by all accounts, have blasted the aircraft out of the sky as quick as look at it!!!

Personally, I think the Chinese showed quite a lot of restraint in this tense situation.


PPRuNe Radar
18th Apr 2001, 21:28
Moving way away from Professional Pilot issues now. Wouldn't be surprised if this topic moves into Non Air Transport Issues

PPRuNe Radar
ATC Forum Moderator
[email protected]

18th Apr 2001, 21:44
Two and one half hours of talks today with the Chinese and no one is budging. The Chinese still put all the blame on the U.S., while the Yanks reject that and tell the Chinese to return their plane.

The Chinese say "nope." You cave in first and then we'll talk. Chinese say talks will resume. U.S. says not until our plane is returned.

U.S. spokesmen say this has nothing to do with plans to sell missile interceptor destroyers to Tawian. Sure.

19th Apr 2001, 00:02
Got this from a Cal friend.



April 12, 2001

By Captain Guy Greider

Continental Airlines

Since the mid-air collision on April 1, 2001 between a U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance aircraft and a Chinese jet fighter, I had watched the news with mild interest. This was mostly due to the proximity of Guam to China. I never dreamed that I would play a role in this intensely watched international drama.

Somewhere in the negotiations between the United States and the Chinese Governments, it was decided that a civilian aircraft should be sent to retrieve the 24 crewmembers being detained on Hainan Island, China. A call was made to Continental Airlines headquarters in Houston, Texas. Continental was chosen because of its Guam base and its ability to launch this kind of operation at a moment's notice. From there, the operation took shape through the tireless efforts of many people working behind the scenes in a coordinated effort between the airline, the military, and the State Department.

On Saturday, April 7, 2001, I received a call at home from Captain Ralph Freeman, Continental Micronesia Director of Flight Operations. Ralph told me that the military wanted to charter one of our jets to conduct a rescue mission and asked if I would be one of the crewmembers. I said yes without hesitation. Later we were told that we would need to get passport pictures taken in case the Chinese Government required visas. We got the required photos and were under the impression that we would leave immediately. However, the negotiations slowed over the demand from the Chinese that the U.S. issue an apology that the U.S. was unwilling to give. Meanwhile, the Continental crew remained on call 24 hours a day. Our Uniforms were laid out and our bags were packed and waiting by the door.

On Wednesday evening April 11, 2001, at about 6:30 PM Ralph called again to say that the two parties were very close to an agreement to release the U.S. crew and to come to the airport. Upon arrival, we were given a briefing sheet listing the information that we would need to conduct the flight.

We would carry a Repatriation Team consisting of Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force specialists, 14 people in all. Doctors, Psychologists, and communications people with lots of gear showed up on the ramp near the airplane, ready to board. They were all dressed in casual civilian clothes.

The 155-seat jet was fitted with 2 full stretcher kits bolted in over rows of seats complete with Oxygen tanks and I.V. bottles. They did not know the condition of the 24 detained crewmembers and they were not going to take any chances. They were prepared.

When our crew was fully assembled, it consisted of 11 people. 2 pilots to fly the jet and an extra to provide relief because of the extensive flight time involved. They were Captain Tom Pinardo, Captain Pierre Frenay and I. We also carried 5 very experienced Flight Attendants. They were Debbie Percell, Susanne Hendricks, Jean Tang, Cynthia Iverson, and Beverly Haines. Our 2 onboard mechanics were Peter Lum and Julius Aguilo. Our load planner was Mike Torres.

At about 9:30 PM we received a call asking that we arrive in China no earlier than 6:00 AM, just about sunrise. It was obvious that the entire exchange would be photographed and they wanted daylight conditions. We estimated that a 2:15 AM departure from Guam would put us on the ground in Haikou precisely at 6:00 AM local China time. (2 hours earlier than Guam) Some of us just stayed on the plane, others accepted the company's invitation to come to the Continental President's Club, a local VIP lounge at the airport to try to get some rest. It was difficult to get any rest with our much-anticipated mission so near.

By 1:00 AM the pilots were back in the briefing room going over the weather, flight plan, fuel requirements and everything else that goes into a flight. Again, we loaded up the airplane and finally departed Guam International at precisely 2:15 AM.

The stretcher kits and medical gear were not the only special additions to the airplane. The company had loaded a special file into the navigation database of the flight management computer (FMC). This allowed us to gain access to navigation data needed to operate in this part of China, which is not in our normal route structure. The Repatriation Team carried sophisticated equipment to communicate with the military and government officials that would monitor our progress throughout the flight. The route of flight took us straight west from Guam toward the Philippines along the G467 airway. About half way across we turned north directly toward Hong Kong. This routing was designed to avoid flying through Taiwanese airspace, something that the Chinese could consider offensive.

Approaching the Chinese coastline, we contacted Hong Kong radar control. After establishing radar contact with us, the controller gave us a short cut to expedite his traffic flow. This was bad because it cut off considerable distance and would result in arriving too early. We compensated by slowing our airspeed until the computer again estimated a 6:00 AM arrival. The instant we turned across the short cut, the interphone rang from the back of the plane. They wanted to know why we had deviated from the flight plan. We told them it was due to Hong Kong traffic and that we had adjusted our airspeed. We were still on schedule.

Now we were approaching our destination, Haikou airport on Hainan Island. Captain Pierre Frenay was at the controls. The weather was 2000-ft overcast with 5 miles visibility and light winds out of the east. Pierre made an ILS approach to and landed on runway 9. Haikou airport is much the same as many other airports in the world that serve jet transport aircraft. It has an 11,000-ft runway with standard lighting and navigational facilities. We touched down at 6:07 AM. The first early morning light was beginning to illuminate the sky.

The local air traffic controller instructed us to follow a vehicle that was beside us on an adjacent taxiway. He led us to a remote part of the airport, away from the main terminal buildings. Once we had parked and shut down the engines, we saw many uniformed Chinese military personnel and vehicles. They did not appear to have weapons. Portable stairs were brought up to the airplane and we opened the main cabin door.

The Repatriation Team that we carried had been briefed to close down all of their communications equipment prior to landing and put it away. They were also briefed to remain in their seats in a non-threatening posture in case the Chinese military came aboard. The first and only person to come aboard was an Air China employee. He spoke English and was to act as the translator between our group and the Chinese military. He instructed us to have everyone fill out both arrival and departure documents. He collected all of our passports and left the aircraft. Before he left, he said that only one person at a time would be allowed to deplane.

Peter Lum, one of our mechanics went down to supervise the re-fueling and servicing of the airplane. When that was complete, I went down to do the walk-around inspection. I did this rather slowly because I wanted to have a chance to look around. While I was out on the ramp, a skirmish developed between people who were trying to climb a wall to photograph our aircraft and the Chinese police. Somehow, CNN managed to carry our arrival and departure live.

Once the airplane was serviced and ready to go, we looked anxiously around for any sign of the buses that carried our 24 detainees. Before that could happen however, we had a problem to deal with. A U.S. military General who was on the scene to assist in the transfer came storming up the stairs and demanded to speak with the Captain. Tom Pinardo responded. The General said that the entire mission was now in jeopardy. A document called the general declaration, which is standard on all international flights had listed the destination as Haikou, China R.O.C. The initials ROC stand for Republic of China which is .. Taiwan! The Chinese were very upset over this. Tom quickly crossed out ROC and replaced it with P.R.O.C. the Peoples Republic of China. This seemed to satisfy them.

With the airplane ready to go and the paperwork complete, 2 buses pulled up and the 24 U.S. service men and women saluted as they bolted up the stairs and settled into the back of the plane. When the last one was aboard, our passports were returned to us. The stairs were withdrawn, the cabin door closed, and we started the engines and departed. It was my turn at the controls.

Once airborne heading straight south we broke through the clouds into the bright sunshine. Pierre made a PA announcement that we were over international waters and leaving Chinese airspace. A great cheer rose from the back of the airplane. A short while later we received a telephone patch over the HF radio from Mr. Joseph Prueher, U.S Ambassador to China. He wanted to speak with Lt. Shane Osborne the 26 year old EP-3 Aircraft Commander. Lt. Osborne came to the cockpit and put on a headset. The Ambassador told him that on behalf of the President of the United States and the entire country he wanted to say welcome home . He went on to say how proud he was of everything the crew had done from their airmanship in saving the lives of the crew and aircraft, to their conduct on the ground once they had been detained. They had truly done an excellent job. After his conversation with the Ambassador, Lt. Osborne stayed in the cockpit for quite a while and told us his story pilot to pilot of what had happened during and immediately after the mid-air collision with the F-8 Chinese fighter. The fighter came up under their left wing. This pilot made 2 very close passes previously that day. He apparently misjudged the intercept and his vertical stabilizer struck the outboard left propeller on the EP-3. The U.S. plane was in straight and level flight on autopilot at the time.

The fighter broke into two pieces and plunged into the sea. The U.S. plane rolled to the left almost inverted, the pilot lost control and they began to lose altitude. The Chinese fighter had raked back across the fuselage and knocked off the nose cone causing the aircraft to buffet wildly. When the nose cone departed the aircraft it collided with and damaged the number 4 propeller on the right wing. The collision punctured the pressure vessel and the EP-3 depressurized. The collision also knocked off the pitot tubes eliminating airspeed and altitude indications in the cockpit. It also knocked off the forward bracket for the HF radio antenna. The antenna then flew back and wrapped around the tail.

We were almost upside down and totally out of control Osborne told us. The dive continued and some crew members donned parachutes. At about 8,000 feet, Osborne regained straight and level flight. They considered ditching the aircraft in the South China Sea but dismissed that option because it was certain to result in loss of life. They headed for the nearest land, Hainan Island. The U.S. crew now faced the most difficult landing of their lives. They made numerous mayday, MayDay, MayDay radio calls on internationally recognized emergency frequencies. The Chinese did not respond. Somehow, they managed to get the airplane on the ground.

Their next immediate task was to destroy the sensitive electronic surveillance equipment aboard the EP-3. Meanwhile the Chinese military had approached the aircraft in vehicles and were yelling at them through loudspeakers to deplane. The next 11 days would be a very uncertain time for them.

When we met them, they told us that they had not been abused or mistreated. Their food was adequate and plentiful. Sort of like eating in a Chinese restaurant every day one of them said. On the forth day, they got some coffee. On the fifth day, some cokes were provided. The crew did not know what kind of transport would be provided for their return home. They were pleased and surprised to see a chartered airliner from the United States.

The rest of the flight from Haikou to Anderson AFB on Guam was uneventful. During the 5 hour flight the crew was treated to the movie Men of Honor and enjoyed a first class meal. We did not know it at the time but our landing at Anderson AFB was carried live on national television.

We taxied to the parking ramp at Anderson where many people had turned out to welcome all of us home. Individuals and families with kids, both military and civilian waved American flags and cheered, showing support for the returning U.S. spy plane crew. Once the 24 U.S. crewmembers and the military Repatriation Team had deplaned at Anderson, they immediately boarded waiting buses and were whisked away. The Continental crew then became the object of intense media attention. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Reuters and various print media interviewed us. A dizzying swirl of attention after a very long day.

We were happy, tired, and pleased that the mission was so successful as Tom flew the last segment, a 10-minute flight back to Guam International Airport. This time our passengers included Bill Meehan, President of Continental Micronesia, Guam Governor Carl Gutierrez, Lieutenant Governor Bordallo and others.

We thought the day was just about over but we had one more surprise in store. After landing, we were given a hero's welcome of our own. The airport fire department was in place to give us the traditional water cannon salute, a rainbow arch of water for us to taxi under. A reception was held at the gate with food, balloons, commemorative plaques, and more media interviews with the local television station. This was very heady stuff. As I look back on this one of a kind operation. It could not have happened without the tremendous effort and skills of many people working behind the scenes. Bill Meehan, Mitch Dubner at the SOCC in Houston, Tom Rinow at the CMI SOCC, Captain Ralph Freeman, CMI Director of Flight Operations, and many others had major rolls in coordinating this flight. It was accomplished through teamwork. The fact that it came off without a hitch is testimony to how well all these people did their jobs. The exposure that Continental Airlines received over this is a marketing manager's dream comes true. We will be remembered by millions of people as the company who conducted the China Rescue Mission . This was a proud day for Continental Airlines and for America.

19th Apr 2001, 00:24

Right on. Excellent post. You give the facts and the flavor to the story which should go into posterity. If anyone should write a history of this incident, they will have some top notch reference material before them.

19th Apr 2001, 00:29
The above post should have been directed to you, not Borg32. Very sorry.