S’pore Air Force plane caught on radar drawing ‘X-rated’ symbol; pattern ‘not intentional’, says RSAF
A flight pattern from a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) plane drew eyeballs from avid aircraft watchers in Western Australia on Thursday.
On the same day, it was picked up by users of social media platform Reddit, with Australian media reports likening the shape ‘drawn’ above Bullsbrook, 41km north of Perth, to a penis with testicles and an “X-rated symbol”.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, the RSAF said: “Any resemblance of aircraft flight patterns to images is not intentional and purely coincidental.
“In fact, we think it resembled Clippy the paper clip. What do you think?”
Clippy is a paper clip assistant familiar to Microsoft Office users of the 2000s. It was discontinued in 2007.
The plane’s one-hour flight began at Bullsbrook at 12.25pm before landing there after 1.28pm, Australian media outlet PerthNow reported.
Checks by The Straits Times confirmed the flight path, and linked the Pilatus PC-21 aircraft’s registration to an RSAF aircraft.
Responding to queries from ST, a Mindef spokesman said the RSAF has been made aware of online reports of radar traces of the flight pattern of one of its aircraft’s training flight in the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Base Pearce in Western Australia.
The spokesman added: “The RSAF’s training flights are based on professional training objectives, and include basic aircraft handling manoeuvres such as turns, instrument approaches and circuit patterns.”
In March 1993, Singapore signed an agreement with the RAAF to establish a flying detachment where pilots, weapon systems officers and flying instructors can be trained.
In 2017, the agreement was upgraded to a pact that allowed the air force to use the base for another 25 years until 2043.
The airspace for training in Pearce is 14 times larger than Singapore’s, ST reported in 2018.
The RSAF flight is not the only incident involving accidental genitalia-shaped patterns.
A Lufthansa pilot, allegedly upset over being forced to divert his flight from Catania, Italy, flew his plane in such a phallic pattern, The New York Post reported in August.
Lufthansa officials told Italian daily La Repubblica that the pattern was created by coincidence, the tabloid added.
In 2022, the United States Air Force also denied that its pilot had drawn a similar pattern intentionally while flying near a Russian base in Syria.
- Additional reporting by Vihanya Rakshika