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re: Chinese Fighter Pilot
I apologize for taking up APD bandwidth on this non-plant related topic. It would be far better to stick to plant related discussions. However a couple of posts on the Chinese Fighter Pilot thread are misinforming.
1. Our aircraft was an EP-3. This is an electronics intelligence gathering aircraft not an AWACS. (Yes, the distinction is a big deal) The EP-3 is a big 4-propeller aircraft based on the old Lockheed Electra. A typical mission would have them fly safely beyond the 12 mile limit. This is not an arbitrary number. That is the universally accepted distance worldwide. Yes the Chinese could fly their aircraft 12 miles off our coast and yes, you could be sure they would have US fighter escort the entire time.
2. The EP-3 while on station, would most likely be on autopilot but would most definitely be flying at a constant airspeed/altitude. If they were focused on a particular area they may be flying "racetracks" but their turns would be measured and consistent. Believe me, if the pilots were doing any kind of "Hot dogging", the 20+ guys/gals in the back would straighten them out real quick.
3. The Chinese fighter pilot, on the other hand, was doing much more than escorting the EP-3. He was engaged in the practice of "thumping" the slower, larger aircraft. Thumping involves a high speed pass where the fighter comes up from behind and below the slower aircraft and pulls up sharply to pass directly in front. The result is that it scares the c**p out of the EP-3 pilot and as the slower plane passes through the fighter's jet wash it roughly shakes the thumped aircraft jostling around every one in the back.
Unfortunately the Chinese pilot was not very good. In fact he personally had a reputation of erratic flying and several close calls with this and other EP-3 crews. On the fatal thumping run he misjudged his pull up and hit the EP-3.
So, you can and should feel sorry for the Chinese fighter pilot and his family, but in this case, the big, bad, meanie U.S.A. is not at fault.
1,200 hours S-3A, 500+ hours P-3C
Now can we get back to plants?