Chen Wenkuan

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
Ch'en Wen-k'uan
Related People

Biography in English

Ch'en Wen-k'uan 陳文寬 W. X % West. Moon F. Chin Ch'en Wen-k'uan (13 April 19 13-), known as Moon F. Chin, aviator, helped to chart the socalled Hump route to India, and he made a trial flight from Sinkiang to India through the valleys of the Karakoram range. During the Sino-Japanese war he flew Chiang Kai-shek and other senior officials on inspection trips. In 1950 he founded Foshing Airlines in Taiwan. Little is known of Moon Chin's childhood except that he was born in T'aishan (Toishan), Kwangtung. He went to the United States at an early age and was educated there. In 1932 he was graduated from the Curtiss-Wright Flying School in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1933 he returned to China and joined the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC), which had been established in 1929 and reorganized in 1930 as a Sino-American enterprise. Chin joined the company as a co-pilot; only Americans were pilots in those days. After the Sino- Japanese war broke out in 1937, the American personnel began to leave China, and Chin and other Chinese were promoted to full pilot status. He was assistant operations manager of the company during the war, later becoming operations manager and then executive vice president.

In 1942 the military authorities decided to seek an air route for shipping supplies from India to China. CNAC, supported by the United States Air Force, was responsible for charting the celebrated Hump route between Dinjan in Assam and Kunming in Yunnan. That route involved flying at a height of 25,000 feet over hazardous stretches of the Himalayan range. Moon Chin was one of several Chinese and American pilots who took part in this dangerous but vital operation.

When the Hump flights were threatened by Japanese attacks against the India-Burma border in 1942, the need for an alternative air route from India to China arose. The military authorities considered the feasibility of flying from northwest India over the Karakoram range to Sinkiang. In July 1942 the Chinese air force made the first trial flight in a C-54 transport plane piloted by Moon Chin. They took off from Chungking and flew over Lanchow to Urumchi in Sinkiang. From Urumchi they flew by way of Kuldja, Yarkand, and the valleys of the Karakoram range to India. The flight called for precise navigation: in the course of this trip the plane had to fly over the world's second highest peak, Mount Godwin-Austen (K2), 28,250 feet above sea level.

By 1943 a large number of CNAC planes had been destroyed by Japanese bombing. Moon Chin, Lin Ta-kang, and a few other Chinese pilots were then employed to fly high-ranking Chinese officials in the remaining aircraft. Chin regularly flew Chiang Kai-shek and Madame Chiang on inspection trips to northwest and southwest China. Operating in cooperation with American authorities in China, he also flew confidential missions for the United States Office of Strategic Services. In February 1945 Chin piloted General Tai Li (q.v.) and Rear Admiral Milton E. Miles to a rendezvous with General Fu Tso-yi (q.v.) at Shan-pa, Suiyuan, in Inner Mongolia. Since there was no airfield, Chin landed on a frozen river; after the meeting, he succeeded in getting his passengers safely away before Japanese units in the area could attack. At the end of 1945 Moon Chin left CNAC to join the Central Air Transportation Corporation (CATC) as assistant general manager. CATC had beeri reorganized with the assets of the Eurasia Aviation Corporation, a former Sino- German concern, which then had only ten planes. Through Chin's efforts, the company purchased all surplus transport aircraft in the China theater and became one of the largest airlines in Asia. In April 1948 Chin flew 14 Chinese and foreign press correspondents over the Amne Machin range in Tsinghai to prove by his flight altitudes that no peak in the range was higher than 25,000 feet, thus refuting the claim of an American businessman and promoter that the range contained a peak higher than Mount Everest.

When the Communists came to power in 1949, CATC aircraft on the mainland fell into their hands. Moon Chin left for Taiwan with other officials of the company. In 1950 he founded Foshing Airlines to fly between Taiwan and the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu. In 1951 to 1955 he was engaged in air-sea rescue operations in the Taiwan Strait. In March 1955 he landed an amphibious plane in rough seas to rescue six air force men who had bailed out. In the same year he rescued a Chinese Nationalist Air Force fighter pilot who had bailed out near the Swatow coast within range of Communist shore batteries.

Moon Chin was known as an intrepid pilot with a unique record of flights made under adverse circumstances. His skill and adventurous spirit marked him as one of the outstanding Chinese aviators of the pre-jet period. Ch'en Yen-nien ^ ££ ip

Biography in Chinese

All rights reserved@ENP-China