P_7878

DC-3/C-47 and the (daring) attempts to fly over the "Hump"

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The "Hump" was the name given by Allied pilots in WWII to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft. In 1942, these were considered the most audacious airlift attempts of World War II. The Himalayas, being the site of extreme weather conditions and jet-stream-strength winds, posed the most severe challenges. The DC-3 Pilots cruising e.g. at 16,000 feet might find their aircraft carried uncontrollably, within seconds, thousands of feet above and then back down. The weather was also laced with fierce thunderstorms and heavy icing. It didn’t help either that the Hump route charts were outdated and inaccurate. It can only be imagined what it must have felt to those early pilots - coming clear out of the cloud-coverage and suddenly getting sight of the towering Himalayan peaks looming far above them. "Flying the 'Hump' was the foremost and by far the most dangerous, difficult and historic achievement of the entire war." Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Commander, U.S. Forces - China

Even earlier, in 1940s, the DC-3 passenger aircraft and the pilots of the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) - called the "Flying Tigers" - cautiously probed over and around the highest mountains in the world seeking air routes between China and India, and to the outside world. CNAC's great success in finding these vital air routes led to the first regular flights over the Himalayan Mountains, and later contributing to the world's first strategic airlift. “When fully loaded, Douglas DC-3s could not climb high enough to clear all the peaks and were forced to weave a perilous path through the mountains, a task that was virtually impossible when the treacherous Himalayan weather closed in,” it's documented.

Of the 700 planes that went up trying to cross the Hump between 1942 and 1945, some 500 remain missing more than 70 years later. CNAC was later provided with C-46/C-47/C-54 aircraft to expand their capabilities. The C-47s were equipped with (more powerful) P&W Canada PT6A-65R turboprop engines. Between April 1942 and August 1945, CNAC crews (aided by the Allied forces) are reported to have flown over 38,000 missions transporting 114,500 tons of vital materials and personnel to across the Himalayan range.

Here, in memory of the Flying Tigers (though, their actual flights/colors not been used here), I've, instead, selected the "Flying Tigers Line" livery of the Freeware C-47 Skytrain/Dakota (from Manfred Jahn/Team to acknowledge their numerous marvelous contributions to the SIM community). The "Flying Tigers Line" (founded 1945) was the first scheduled cargo airline in the U.S. and was also a military charter operator. It was merged with FedEx in 1988. This flight tracks directly north across (Orbx's) NZ North island from NZRO (Rotorua) to the Capital City of NZWN (Wellington) - routing past Lake Taupo (the largest freshwater lake in NZ and the 2nd-largest in the Oceania) and the nearby strato-volcanic mountains (Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngaurhoe) - these landmarks being seen in the shots. Thanks for viewing. [FW(C47)/Orbx(NZNI)/REX]

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Edited by P_7878
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Great post with a still revered aircraft, without which Berlin would be nowhere today.

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Nice pictures and very informative.

John

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Lovely pics!  I've really missed flying P3D... maybe soon 🙂

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***Lovely*** In a Class all by herself 

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