Pacific Skies: American Flyers in World War II

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Ma, vice president of the organization and president of the Asia Holiday Travel Agency, went to China to brief the local government agencies and arrange for proper ceremonies at the Guilin park. He spent six months preparing China for this event and says the Chinese were enthusiastic about the project. Weather and unpredicted mechanical problems on the way made the advanced flight time schedule impossible.

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Dale Mueller, an American with hundreds of hours in the DC-3, was at the controls. Jobe had flown s for United, and without a DC-3 rating, he was not expected to fly, but he went along as adviser, mechanic, chronicler, and morale officer.

Pacific Skies: American Flyers in World War II

Also on board was Barry Arlow, a mechanic and engineer from Victoria, Australia, who had answered the call from Chrystall to join the project. They easily made the first stop: Longreach, Australia, nautical miles away. The next leg got them to Darwin, just over 1, miles farther, where they were joined by another pilot, Tom Claytor. An American whose flying career took him to Thailand, he became an indispensable negotiator in the difficulties to come.

On the next day, they traveled the longest over-water distance and landed in Bali, Indonesia, relaxed and happy. The organization raised the rest through donations from their members, friends and neighbors, and borrowed some money from the park fund. The next episode of international cooperation involved 15 Russians, who were in Surabaya overhauling a Sukhoi regional jet. They stepped in to help the C crew after the Surabaya airport officials were less than supportive of the reenactment.

The airport officials insisted that the ruined engine be carried away with Buzz Buggy , but loading a 2,pound hunk of metal into the belly of the C was a tall order for a crew whose average age was more than With the help of the Russians and their cranes, levers, and vodka, the aviators finally got the old radial engine aboard.

The Russians, who had significantly lightened the mood, bid Buzz Buggy and crew a noisy farewell.

US Fighter Pilots vs. the German Luftwaffe - World War 2 Documentary - 1945

They were now 50 days into a trip that had been planned to last eight. The delay kept Dale Mueller from making the rest of the flight; he had to return to commitments in the United States and was replaced by Bob Small, an Australian pilot recently retired from Qantas. The troubleshooting and repair ate up another five days, though the Republic of Singapore Flying Club and Jet Aviation were as generous as the Surabayans had been stingy. But 10 minutes before arrival, the second original engine blew, spewing oil.

Searle shut it down and landed at Kunming on one engine. After a grand welcome in Kunming, city officials, determined to have the airplane flown on to Guilin, procured a new engine from U. The three Kunming mechanics had known about the Flying Tigers all their lives and never believed they would see a C On November 19, more than three months after its departure from Bathurst, Buzz Buggy made its final landing, at Liangjang International Airport in Guilin, to a cheerful reception.

Eventually, it will be housed in a new building that displays memorabilia from the China National Aviation Corporation and other U. Army Air Forces crash sites on the Hump.

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So far, Kuhles has located 22 of the sites. In , armed with information from our many years of research and hard-won leads, he located the site where CNAC 60 struck the mountain. He reported his discovery to the U. We hoped for their help in recovering the remains of the pilots and radio operator, but there has been little action in the years since. The crash site is on Cangshan Mountain, a range of up to 14,foot peaks above a picturesque lake in Dali, Yunnan Province. The same year, the Chinese embassy in Washington, whose officials had been encouraging me, invited me to attend the Chinese celebration marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

I took the opportunity to visit Dali, where a cable car carried me to a platform 9, feet above the valley. A group of about 20 residents joined me, my son, and our guides, and one of the women handed me a large bouquet of yellow flowers, for Jimmie and the crew.

Flying ace

I placed the flowers in a vase that had been set on the cable car platform and lingered a few moments. My Chinese hosts stepped back respectfully as I stood there, and when I turned back, I saw few dry eyes.

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The mountainside overlooking the ancient city of Dali and its peaceful lake might be fitting as a final resting place for the crew of CNAC For a marker, there is a monument in Kunming to all the Hump fliers, and now a lovely park in Guilin, graced by a year-old C, that celebrates their contribution to the world.

And the world today might be a very different place. Continue or Give a Gift. Daily Planet. Flight Today. History of Flight. Virtual Space. Subscribe Current Issue. Courtesy Chris Bull.

Mangshih, China, Workers unload pipes from a C for a gas and oil line planned to run from Calcutta. After a long day of work at Kunming airport, the crew finds a parking space for Buzz Buggy. An Associated Press reporter broke news of the foo-fighter sightings on January 1st, , and theories about their origins quickly abounded: The sightings were flares, or weather balloons or St.

But the members of the th rejected all those theories. In fact, he never even suggested that the glowing wingless cigar-like object that flew next to his plane was extraterrestrial in origin. He did express the view that there were a lot of things during the war that were kept quiet. This photo is said to show a 'foo-fighter' observed by a German pilot in May , near Karnten, Germany. But the most compelling link to the foo fighters might be Wernher von Braun, a year-old wunderkind rocket engineer.

Von Braun helped the Nazis develop the V-2 rocket : a long-range guided ballistic missile that Hitler was using in against Belgium and other parts of Allied Europe. The V-2 could even explain the glow, since its tail emitted a long burning plume. Nicholas Veronico, an author who has written several books on military aviation history, says that explanation comes up short. Once it started burning, it burned and produced thrust at one rating. German-born rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, who was brought to the United States to work for the U.

Army circa Following the collapse of the Third Reich, the engineer was recruited to be part of Operation Paperclip , a clandestine U. Von Braun helped the U. Army launch Explorer 1 shortly thereafter. As von Braun recast himself as an American patriot, his career in the Nazi party shadowed him, an ambiguous secret that reporters would playfully poke at.

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