'Carrier-Style' online craze grips China
The Chinese social media is abuzz with imitations of hand signals by crew members of the country's first aircraft carrier Liaoning. Called "Carrier-Style", it seems inspired by the hugely popular South Korean music video "Gangnam-Style".
In a cross between a genuflection and a two-fingered touchdown gesture from American football, two crew members on the carrier's flight deck gave a green light to the pilot of a Chinese J-15 fighter jet who succeeded in the country's first take-off and landing maneuver, reported Xinhua.
Taking a close-up shot from images broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV), this unique flight deck signalling was soon imitated by Chinese Internet users on Twitter-like Sina Weibo and other major bulletin board systems in Chinese.
"Carrier Style" was deemed "cool, powerful and confident as well as amusing and comical" by netizens who uploaded pictures showing various takes on the gesture.
"Carrier Style" rapidly eclipsed the online craze for the "Gangnam Style" music video after which it was named.
On Sina Weibo, posts related to "Carrier Style" were followed by more than eight million users in one day and topped the list of hot topics.
"Although the gesture has often been seen in movies, I couldn't restrain my excitement the first time I saw it used in instructing a fighter jet to land and take off from China's first aircraft carrier," commented Han Lu, executive chief editor of a leading car website.
"Like my own child's growing up, it's really a thing worthy of congratulation," wrote "Shizizuo Caimiyu".
The successful flight landing on the Liaoning was conducted within two months of the carrier's delivery to the People's Liberation Army Navy Sep 25.
"With carrier-borne fighter jets, now China's own aircraft carrier is truly charting a course for deep seas," commented "lifushou" on Sina Weibo.
"We have done these test flights from the very beginning, and finally we mastered the key skills for the landing of carrier-borne aircraft," said Vice Admiral Zhang Yongyi, the commander-in-chief in charge of the exercise.
"It's like dancing on a knife point as the aircraft has to land on a very limited space," Zhang said.
The success of the exercise on the Liaoning, using a ski-jump type take-off instead of a catapult system, makes China one of a handful of countries to have mastered landing and take-off of fixed-wing jets on an aircraft carrier.
Refitted from the former Soviet Union's unfinished carrier Varyag, China's first aircraft carrier was towed to Dalian in northeast China in 2003.