The DC-2 came to China in the spring of 1935, and it was a seminal moment in the development of Chinese aviation. Precursor to its much more famous successor (the DC-3), the DC-2 was a superb aircraft in its own right, faster sleeker, and more reliable than any commercial aircraft ever before seen in the Middle Kingdom. It had none of the crisscross mishmash of struts and spars that knit together previous generations of aircraft, not a single one. Something about the DC-2 inspired confidence, it looked like an airplane was supposed to look, and within 90 days of its arrival, the China National Aviation Corporation’s passenger traffic had jumped 300 percent. Through the years of writing, the DC-2 grew into my favorite airplane in China’s Wings.
Here’s a run of photographs taken during the DC-2 arrival, all courtesy of the Edward P. Howard collection: