FLYING THE HUMP
15 August - until we reach Guilin 2016
Commemorative Flight from Australia through Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar across the Himalayas to China
During World War II, 600 Allied Aircraft were lost crossing the Himalayas to supply the Flying Tigers in China. Japan controlled the entire coast of China, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and then Burma. With the loss of the Burma Road, "Flying the Hump" was the only option to re-supply the forces fighting the Japanese from within China. This was one of the most dangerous flying routes at the time. The DC-3 and C47 aircraft were the primary aircraft tasked with this operation.
In August 2016, a C47 will depart from Australia and fly through Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and "across the hump" to Kunming, then on to Guilin, China. The final resting place for this historic aircraft is to be the main exhibition display at the Flying Tiger Heritage Park and Museum in Guilin, China. This museum chronicles the critical contribution made by the Flying Tigers and the pilots who flew the hump to supply the Tigers during World War II. The timing of this flight is most critical, because at this moment, the United States, in cooperation with the Government of Myanmar, is currently conducting a MIA search and rescue mission for the remains of the 600 aircraft and 740 American crew members and other nationalities lost during this hazardous mission.
The Flight is being conducted to honor those men who served to bring victory and peace, and to the friendships between nations today that are charged with keeping the peace.
Our sincere thanks to the following who are helping to make this flight possible:
Flying Tigers Historical Organization -- Florence Fang Family Foundation -- Chinese People's Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries -- Spirit of 45 -- Ralph Crystal -- Chris Smith -- John Boland -- Gerry Stort -- Barbara Bussler -- Dave Sanderson -- Adrain Heap -- Dave Ireland (CASA) -- Mike Little -- Erik Mol -- Ambassador Scot Marciel (United States Embassy in Myanmar) -- Jamie McAden & Zack Hohn -- Christian Mosebach (Myanmar Aviation Center) -- U Than Minn -- Danny Zonshine (Israel Ambassador in Myanmar) -- Kevin Pritz (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Det-1 Thailand) -- Mac Thompson -- Myanmar Times -- 7 Day Daily -- Eduardo Loigorri
|CURRENT LOCATION (track on 14-15 Oct 2016 "Over the Hump" to Kunming)|
On 16 August, we flew from Darwin to Bali. Total time was a little over 6 hours in the air. It then took us 5 hours to refuel the plane from 11 drums of Avgas and to add 7 gallons of oil to the engines.
On 17 August, we departed Bali for Johor (Malaysia). After 1hr 30min into the flight, smoke appeared coming from the left engine. After 15 seconds, the engine started to vibrate severely, then fire appeared. We shut down the engine and diverted to Surabaya (25 minutes away). The Indonesian ATC was very helpful and we landed safely.
We have located several engines. We have to ship the engine to Surabaya and install it before the end of September. We are on the clock, because the annual on the aircraft expires in the end of October. All of our crew is working for free.
REPLACEMENT ENGINE READY TO SHIP
BACK IN THE AIR
The following morning, we departed for Chiangmai low level. We made a low pass over the headquarters of EAA THAILAND which had helped us with connections on shipping agents and secret procedures to get a "used engine" imported into Indonesia, then proceeded north to the West of Bangkok. The weather was fine, and we had another refuel and flight plan stop in Chiangmai.
There were hugs and smiles and we clambered out, and then the greatest surprise of all -- the Myanmar Air Force "TatmadawLey" pulled up in an army truck with 4 drums of Chinese Avgas and a hand pump. 5 very smart and polished Air Force Officers presented themselves, and announced that they had been waiting for us for 10 days. What a tour-de-force, and a salute to our friend, Danny, the Israeli Ambassador who personally went and met with the Commander of the Burmese Air Force to request their help with this honorable mission.
That evening, we were taken to the Jefferson Center in downtown Mandalay to give a talk about our journey to a packed room of Burmese English-speaking enthusiasts who had been following our progress on facebook for almost 2 months. We had finally made it. We had a delicious Burmese dinner arranged by our Indochina Aviation hosts who had come to Mandalay to help smooth the delicate process of departing to the East over "The Hump."
The following morning, the weather looked okay. A few clouds, but an early start would give us the chance to cross the mountains before the clouds could build. At least, this was the hope...
There was a 1.5 meter cut down through the center of the monument. We were led into this corridor by the soldiers. One of the translators then told us to clap our hands. The sound echoed off the walls, and the translator said, "Do you hear that... that is the sound of the Japanese guns shooting at the pilots who flew the hump." As we emerged on the far side of the monument, there was a wall carved in Chinese and English. "This monument is to honor the American pilots and other nationalities that flew the hump during World War II to save the Chinese people." My eyes watered as I started to realize what this place was and what we had sacrificed here.
That evening, we were taken to the Flying Tigers Restaurant in the heart of Kunming. This was the very same place where Claire Chennault and the Flying Tigers used to hang out during World War II. The walls are adorned with black and white photographs and paraphernalia from that time... and today, it has become the home of the "Flying Tigers Hot Dog."
After a delicious dinner, members of our intrepid crew joined our China Friendship Association Attache "AJ" to another special place -- "The Hump Bar." Here we found more photos, and flying jackets on the wall, ice cold beer and some members of the Chinese PLA Army. We greeted each other warmly without speaking any words that the other could understand and pointed to the C47's on the wall and explained that we just did that... They came to our table and invited us to stand for a toast. It was a fine end to a long day.
LONG JOURNEY'S END
A POINT OF HONOR
|EMAILS FROM THOSE WHO WERE THERE
Stuart Arnold -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Aug 13, 2016
Subject: Hump flight re-enactment
Gentlemen, Let me introduce myself. I am Stuart Arnold, ex Flight Lieutenant, Pilot, Royal Australian Air Force served in World War 2 attached to 52 Transport Squadron, Royal Air Force based in India, at Dum Dum, and flying Dakota (C47) Aircraft throughout India, Burma and over the "HUMP" into China. I did a total of 58 crossings of The Hump during 1944 and 1945. I was one of only 8 Australians flying into China and I believe I am the sole survivor of our group. I was a long time Member of The Hump Pilots Association until it became unviable and closed down. Perhaps you can now understand why I am contacting you regarding your proposed "Hump re-enactment flight". I am particularly interested in your planned route, mainly the second last leg from Mandalay to Kunming. This was never a route across the Hump flown by Dakota Aircraft during the war. Flights across the Hump from India departed from Dinjan and other nearby aerodromes in Assam in North- East India and took us over the high mountains and, as is now fairly common knowledge, it was prone to severe weather,high winds, turbulence,and icing conditions. Flying from Mandalay to Kunming would not re-enact this. I will be very interested to hear how well your flight succeeds and in a way I envy you your endeavours. It will have taken much planning and I wish the Crew 'Bon Voyage" and every success. Sincerely. Stuart Arnold
Chris Bull -- email@example.com
Aug 20, 2016
Dear Tom, I have been following your flight having been alerted by Peggy Maher of the CNAC Association. Sorry to hear about the engine failure, congratulations in getting it down safely. My father, Gifford Bull, flew the hump for CNAC from late 1944 to August, 1945. He took a number of pictures during that time, most of which we know the location. But for a few I donít have a good location and canít find a match using Google Earth. Guessing from your proposed flight plan between Mandalay and Kunming, you will be taking a conservative approach and roughly following the Burma Road. This would bring you close to where I suspect two of his pictures were taken. He captioned them as coming down [from the Salween ridge] to the lower country around Paoshan. Would you be interested in seeing these photos and seeing if they match as you go? If you are, is this the place to send them, or is there a better way? Chris Bull -- ps. I recognize the photo of C-47 CNAC #82 in flight on your web site. This photo has become fairly widely distributed and attribution is frequently lost. It was taken by James Dalby, another CNAC pilot. My dad made copy negatives of some of the Dalby collection, so I have a print that is higher resolution.
Chris Dennis -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct 6, 2016
I saw your story and according to spot message you are stuck in Surabaya (SUB). Have you arranged for the replacement motor to arrive from Melbourne? Good on all of you for taking on such a challenge. My Father, Keith Dennis flew the Hump as a R.A.A.F. navigator / air gunner. He trained near Calgary, Canada and served with many Canadians. He had some interesting stories. He told me one story of pushing freight out the door when airborne. No safety harness in those days. The aircraft suddenly jerked and Keith was falling out! A strong hand grabbed him by the belt and hauled him back in. It was his Canadian crew mate Chris. I was named after him. Good luck. Regards, Chris
Scott Daniel -- email@example.com
Oct 20, 2016
Alan, A personal note about the "Hump." A young man, Ivy Reese, lived near us and had enlisted in the Air Force and had become a pilot. He was home on leave before shipping out to fly C-47's over the "Hump." He was in his uniform and stopped by to visit. I was 10-yr's old. Daddy was a tank maintenance officer for Gen. Patton in North Africa and my brother was on a Destroyer in the Pacific. Lt. Reese thrilled me with flying stories and was a part of my determination to Fly. Ivy disappeared on a flight over the "Hump." Don't know how much longer America can last before collapsing. Keep the "blue side up,"
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