Chinese Fighters Intercept, ‘Flip Off’ RCAF Combat Aircraft


Canadian government sources told a news agency that Chinese fighters have repeatedly intercepted Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft participating in a U.N.-sanctioned operation in international airspace. The Global News report, quoted in a Newsweek article, said, “Those jets are frequently flying as close as 20 to 100 feet from the Canadian plane,” adding that Canadian pilots “sometimes see them raising their middle fingers.”

Canadian CP-140 maritime patrol aircraft are flying as part of multinational Operation Neon to enforce U.N. sanctions on North Korea. The patrols are designed to observe North Korean “evasion activities,” such as transporting banned cargo to North Korean capital Pyongyang. Commanders of Operation Neon maintain the flights are flown in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In a June 1 statement, the RCAF wrote, “In these interactions, PLAAF [Peoples Liberation Army Air Force] aircraft did not adhere to international air safety norms. These interactions are unprofessional and/or put the safety of our RCAF personnel at risk. In some instances, the RCAF aircrew felt sufficiently at risk that they had to quickly modify their own flight path in order to increase separation and avoid a potential collision with the intercepting aircraft.”

For its part, China responded on Monday with a statement from People’s Liberation Army Colonel Wu Qian. “Recently, Canadian military aircraft have stepped up close-in reconnaissance and provocations against China under the pretext of implementing United Nations Security Council resolutions,” adding that Canadian aircrews “endanger China’s national security and the safety of front-line personnel on both sides.”

The Chinese have filed protests in response to Canada’s operations through international diplomatic channels, calling on Canadian commanders to “strictly discipline its front-line forces.” Wu said, “In response to the provocative acts and unfriendly and unprofessional operations by Canadian military aircraft, the Chinese military took reasonable, effective, safe and professional actions.”

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Don’t know what the patches are for…but the “dent” in the wing is the inboard edge of the wing slat…goes in or out automatically, at slower speeds to provide more lift.

  2. Use guns that fire paint balls.
    Their base will know that they were “shot down” on their harassemnt mission when they land covered in new paint.