The Spy Plane Page

The American media reporting of this serious incident has omitted certain essential information. The absence of this information has paralyzed rational discussion and enabled the most chauvinistic interpretations of the event. This is precisely the "yellow journalism" practiced by the Hearst press on the eve of the Spanish American War in 1898. It is a measure of the state of the American media after its consolidation into the hands of a few giant corporations that, over a century later, when one would have thought we would know better, aside from the technology, little has changed.The information on this page will attempt to overcome these omissions.

The International Aircraft Interception Procedure

Describes the procedure for intercepting an aircraft, identifying it, and signaling it to follow the intercepting aircraft or releasing it. Responsibility of the intercepted aircraft is described.

The U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone (Pacific)

A map of the west coast of the U.S. and adjacent waters showing the zone over which the U.S. exercises sovereignty for the flight of aircraft. This zone extends far into international waters.

The U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone (Atlantic)

Same as above for the Atlantic coast.

Rules for Entry into a U.S. ADIZ

Entry into a U.S. ADIZ requires the timely filing of a flight plan and permission from the Federal Aviation Administration. Any aircraft failing to comply will be intercepted by U.S. fighter aircraft.

Special Interest Flights

The aircraft of certain designated countries receive heightened surveillance when they enter a U.S. ADIZ. This document describes the additional surveillance and the countries whose aircraft are designated to receive it.

The Spy Plane Incident in Relation to China's Airspace

A description of the various types of airspace off China's coast, including the ADIZ's of several Asian countries, in the context of the U.S. spy plane incident. Includes a current aviation map of the area.

Cold War Relic and Paranoid to Boot

Text of a severely critical letter to the Editor of the NY Times by the author of this web page.

China's lack of faith in U.S. intentions and Dubya's reassurances

A pair of related articles from the NY Times

Author's opinion: The U.S. writes off its spy plane

A recap of the stages in the evolution of the spy plane incident, culminating in the resumption of the spy flights.

Last updated 21 May 2001 0301 GMT