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China National Aviation Corporation Headgear


Scarecrow
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Scarecrow

These are some China National Aviation Corp. (CNAC), visor caps and sun helmets.  CNAC was mainly a passenger and mail service airline before the war.  Owned 55% by the Nationalist Chinese Government and 45% by Pan-Am.  During the war it was pressed into service as a transport and cargo/supply airline and were the main source of supply for the AVG, once the Burma Road was closed by the Japanese.  CNAC was flying these supply missions through out the war over the "Hump" from India to China.  Flying the Hump is considered some of the most dangerous flying in the world. With many CNAC as well as US ATC aircraft, ending up on Himalayan mountain hillsides.  Their trail of crash sites is referred to as the "Aluminum Trail".  The pilots of CNAC were represented by many nationalities, however they were primarily American and Chinese pilots and co-pilots. In fact approximately 19 (sources vary on the exact number, I've seen anywhere from 16-21 mentioned) AVG/Flying Tigers joined and flew for CNAC after the AVG disbanded in July 1942. One of the sun helmets shown does not have any CNAC insignia (the CNAC Chinese symbol is called a "Chung"), it however is named inside on the sweatband to Capt. Charles Sharkey.  Sharkey is one of the better known CNAC pilots, flying through the war for CNAC.  He was even the subject of a Camel cigarette ad.  Sharkey had an untimely end in January 1947 when the CNAC C-47 he was piloting crashed into a mountainside, in fog, while attempting a landing in Tsingtao China.  The story goes that the airport had just changed the radio beacon position and failed to notify the pilot, causing this very experienced pilot to crash, killing himself and 42 others on the plane.  Hope you enjoy looking.

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  • 1 month later...

Paul, I am astounded that you have one of Sharkey's CBI covers!?!?! The history behind that man's contribution to the war effort regarding supply, support and transport is legendary. I would love to see a picture of Sharkey's name on the inner lining if you get a chance. There were various CNAC iterations of hat badges and you have a nice representative sample here. I have never seen a group of CNAC covers as diverse as this at one time. I know this is a cap badge posting but I wonder if the admin would not mind posting this in the Wing Badges section where the vast majority of individuals who would be very interested in seeing these could enjoy this prolific and hyper rare post of cap badges and the covers they're attached to, from the China National Aviation Corporation....

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Mel,

Many thanks for your comments, they are greatly appreciated.  Here is a photo of Sharkey's name in the sun helmet.  It is well hidden under the sweat band.  Didn't know it was there for quite a while.  After discovering on some USAAF officer visors, that it was a fairly common thing to put your name on the underside of the sweatband, I began checking all my headgear. And that is how I located Sharkey's name.  Became my impetus to pursue other CNAC items.  I'll post in this thread a couple of the CNAC uniforms that I have been very fortunate to acquire.  MSharkey.JPG.7b633119c4f98e213609ccb2f037bfc7.JPGel, thanks again! 

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8 hours ago, Scarecrow said:

I'll post in this thread a couple of the CNAC uniforms that I have been very fortunate to acquire.

 

That would be wonderful to see Paul, I look forward to seeing these historic items you speak of to complement these rarely seen World War II covers! Thank you sir, for your diligent collecting efforts and willingness to share with us.

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Mel,

Here are the two CNAC uniform jackets that I have been very fortunate to acquire.  Neither are identified, one having a name but it is inked out.  Both have Indian tailor labels. 

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56 minutes ago, Scarecrow said:

Here are the two CNAC uniform jackets that I have been very fortunate to acquire.  Neither are identified, one having a name but it is inked out.  Both have Indian tailor labels. 

 

WOW! That bullion wing and the CNAC buttons along with the cover.... Spectacular history my friend, just spectacular to see it all together! Thank you for sharing! 

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