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Around the world in 175 days part 16, China! Shanghai, Wenzhou

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June 4, 1924:  They stayed aboard Black Hawk the next day while they waited for the Navy ships to get into position at Shanghai.  On the 4th they awoke to excellent weather, the water was so calm and the winds so light that there heavy aircraft had great difficulty getting airborne.  Lt Smith was not able to get Chicago in the air, he waved the other aircraft on toward China. He taxied back to the mooring and spent the rest of the of the day swimming under there plane repairing a strip of metal that had torn away from one of the pontoons.  The next morning Black Hawk sent two motor boats to kick up the water so Chicago could get airborne and follow the other two aircraft toward China.  

Boston and New Orleans continued in the best weather they had experienced since they left Seattle,  As they approached the Yangtze river they could see thousands of junks, sampans, river boats and large steam ships all trying to avoid each other.  Several miles of water front had been cleared for there landing space,  Once they landed and battled the rapid river currents to tie their craft up to the buoy’s, an excursion boat containing hundreds of Americans and Europeans came to welcome them and give the flyers a historic reception, a huge crowd of people were on shore clamoring to meet them.  After they flyers finished their work on the planes they were taken to the luxurious Hotel Astor in downtown Shanghai. Smith arrived the next day to the same reception.

July 30, 2017: For the next couple legs I will be flying the Douglas DC-3.  The DC-3 started life as an enlarged 14 bed sleeper version of the DC-2 but it revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s, it could carry more passengers in greater comfort than ever before, over 600 were built before world war 2 and more than 16,000 were built during the war, about 2000 are still in service around the world today.   The model I am using today is version 3 of the C-47 made by Manfred Jahn and team and is one of my favorite aircraft.   My flight from Kagoshima to Shanghai started off with low clouds and 4 mile visibility, Flying at 3000 feet over the hills to the west and out over the East China Sea.  The overcast changed to scattered clouds and the rest of the flight was pretty easy as we cruised at 5000 ft into Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport.  The 459 nm flight had taken 2.9 hours to complete.

Here are a few pic of the flight.

Ready at Kagoshima.

Take off.

Heading out over the hills.

Clear weather.

Glamour Shots.

First sight of China!

On Final.

Parked, Pudong International Airport

June 7, 1924:  The original plan was to fly to 600 miles to Amoy (Xiamen) but not wanting to try to take off with a heavy load of fuel in the crowded harbor Lt Smith worked out with the destroyer captains that they would take off with only five hours of fuel and fly 350 miles to Tchinkoen bay where one of the destroyers would be positioned for refueling, they would then continue Amoy.  On the morning of the 7th the harbor master was not able to clear a path.  All three planes had to abort there first takeoff attempts to avoid colliding with a unheeding sampans  Smith and Wade finally saw an opening and took off, but when Nelson in New Orleans tried again he had to swerve right to avoid a Junk, then plunging up river at high speed had to pull up hard to avoid a large sampan, missing it by inches.   Flying along the coast they arrived at the destroyer off the china coast after four and a half hours of flying.

August 1, 2017:  I will again be flying Manfred Jahn’s C-47.  Best I could figure Tchinkoen is actually Yueqing Bay, and the closest airport is at Wenzhou, about 25 miles away.  Even then P3D did not have that airport but I found a simple scenery file on created by Kevin Wynn that would meet my needs.  The weather started out nice, 18kn winds a few clouds at 2400 feet.  Temperature read at 93F/34C.  Took off from Shanghai and headed south along the coast at 5000 feet.  The clouds built up as I approached Wenzhou and I dropped to about 1500 feet in the rain to stay below the weather before dropping into the Wenzhou airport for a safe landing.  The 201 mile flight took 1.7 hours.

Here are a few pics.

Ready for a dawn takeoff.

Climbing out of Shanghai.

Heading out over the coast islands.

Glamour Shots.

More islands.

Weather ahead.

Our destination.


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Wonderful account of aviation history....great looking screenshots!


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5 hours ago, woodhick said:

It's still the epitome of a real airliner to me.


2 hours ago, HLJames said:

Wonderful account of aviation history....great looking screenshots!


Thanks for the compliments, its greatly appreciated.

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A fun historical fact I forgot to mention.  After the crash of Major Martin and Sergeant Harvey in Alaska, Sergeant Ogden was the only enlisted man left on the flight.  When they were in Japan Smith cabled Washington stating his lack of rank was causing some embarrassing problems.  When the arrived in Shanghai, a cable was waiting from them from General Patrick promoting Ogden to 2nd Lieutenant.  For the rest of the flight they never stopped kidding Lieutenant Ogden about his "Social Promotion".

Carry on.

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Great story and typical very resourceful military leadership!


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