“The U.S. scrambles fighter jets to intercept Russian bombers!” “Chinese jets menace Taiwan!” “China flies 52 military planes into Taiwanese airspace in its largest incursion ever!” Headlines with exclamation marks and words like scramble and menace are meant to catch the eye and get clicks!

The first headline above is my own, but it is very similar to many like it. The next two come from The Washington Post and Yahoo News, respectively. The last one, however, looks like it comes from The Onion or The Babylon Bee. In reality, it comes from the information age we currently live in, in which real news is buried in sensational headlines, and news outlets need hooks to grab readers’ attention.


Real Talk

Let’s break down the recent headlines. “Chinese jets menace Taiwan!” I am sure they were menacing, and not just to the radar operators seeing them on scopes or to the civilians reading next morning’s headlines. I am reasonably sure China MEANT them to be menacing, otherwise, it wouldn’t have sent fighters and bombers. But, and hear me out, THEY DID NOT FLY INTO TAIWANESE AIRSPACE. Again, they DID NOT fly into Taiwanese airspace. And they haven’t flown into it. 


We Do It, Too

“The U.S. scrambles fighter jets to intercept Russian bombers!” Intercept Russian bombers over the Atlantic, near U.S. airspace. Did the U.S. Air Force just save millions of lives by repelling hordes of Russian nukes? As awesome as that would be, this simply did not, and does not, happen. Those Russian bombers fly all over the place, much like U.S. bombers fly all over the place, but DO NOT violate other countries’ airspace without permission.

Most people have some idea that the Air Force flies training sorties. They may not know that term, but they understand pilots have to actually learn to fly. And when the job entails much more than simple takeoff, fly, and land, there is an understanding that different missions require different training. Almost all of it means some sort of flying, though. As repulsive as it sounds, other countries’ air forces have to train as well, and we all train for what we get paid to do: go to war.