“Hump” Pilots, DC-3 Meet Again


Two former DC-3 captains were reunited with the aircraft they both flew over “the Hump” in Asia’s Himalayan mountains during World War II, more than 70 years ago, in a special event held last week at the SFO Museum, at the San Francisco International Airport. The Historic Flight Foundation, which owns and operates the airplane, flew it in to celebrate the opening of a new exhibit, “The Legend of CNAC: China National Aviation Corporation, 1929-1949.” Former CNAC Captain Peter Goutiere, age 99, rode in to the event aboard the DC-3, from Washington’s Paine Field, and Captain Moon F. Chin, 101, was on hand to greet his friend upon landing. The airplane flew for Pan Am and Johnson & Johnson before the Foundation bought it, in 2006, and spent six years restoring it.

images: SFO Museum

The pilots of CNAC “blazed a trail unlike any other in the history of commercial air transport,” according to the museum website. Operating in harsh weather at extreme altitudes above challenging terrain, the pilots established a route system across the Himalayas between India and China. “CNAC’s personnel continuously operated and adapted its air services during civil war, invasion, occupation, world war, and revolution,” says the museum. “In opening the skies over China and beyond as a carrier of passengers, airmail, and cargo, CNAC became an important strategic asset during a time of great conflict.” The exhibit will be open until Feb. 6, 2015.