Here's a YouTube video about the search for the Chinese National Airlines Flight 53. I don't know who to thank for it, but it's a nice summary of CNAC and, to a lesser extent, of the AVG. (The gun camera footage illustrating the Tigers is actually from the days of the China Air Task Force and the 14th Air Force, not the AVG.) With Chinese sub-titles. A search party found the wreck in 1997. The video is narrated by Fletcher Hanks, who flew for CNAC during the war and who inspired the search for the wreck of his friend's DC-3.
Bob Bergin reports that a bronze statue of Gao Chi Han has been erected in Yichang, Hubei Province, commemorating his epic flight on August 14, 1937, when he was credited with being the first CAF airman to shoot down a Japanese warplane. "Although he flew for Chiang Kai-shek's Air Force," Bob writes, "he was well-respected by the Communists. In a major speech, Chou En-Lai said that he belonged not only to the Kuomintang, but to the whole Chinese nation." (His name is also spelled Kao Chi-hang and Gao Zhihang.) Flying a new Curtiss Hawk III biplane fighter-bomb of the 4th Pursuit Group, whose commander he was, Kao led the interception of a formation of Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" bombers based on the offshore island of Taiwan, shooting down the twin-engine bomber flown by Petty Officer Iyoshio Momosaki of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Gao then damaged a second G3M, but was himself obliged to make a dead-stick landing when his Hawk was hit by return fire.
Gao's most famous feat was to force down a Mitsubishi A5M "Claude" fighter, the first to be captured intact. Promoted to commander of all CAF fighter units, he transitioned to a Russian-built Polikarpov monoplane fighter, only to be killed on the ground by a Japanese bomb on November 21, 1937. An airbase on Taiwan today is named in his honor. Blue skies! — Dan Ford
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Posted October 2016. Websites ©1997-2016 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.