J-20 maiden flight: I’m a believer

During lunch today China‘s aviation enthusiasts wentcrazy with reports of the Chengdu J-20′s first flight.

Preparations had been taking place allmorning: chairs set out for VIPs, tea served, and extra tight security aroundthe airfield perimeter. A quick check revealed that in Chinese astrologicalterms today is good day for big things: signing contracts, moving house,commencing renovations, and launching super fighters.

Then, after lunch, there were reports ofthe twenty minute flight, a few low level passes above the crowd, a landing,and the pilot waving from the cockpit. 

The photos and ecstatic postings convincedme: I’m a believer.

j-20 flying.jpg

“Viva to my motherland!” was one Twitterpost that struck me. “It is a glorious day for our country!” said another. 

Glorious day possibly, but fascinating daycertainly.

The manner in which this news firstappeared (grainy, amateur photos) and the timing (US defence secretary’s visit)intrigue me deeply. Perhaps all this is not so much about impressing the United States,but playing to the home crowd during Gate’s visit.

Whatever China‘s intention, it has put on aheck of a show.

j-20 flying 2.jpg



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