Shortly after I posted that story, I got an email from Liz Matzelle, a Historical Flight Foundation volunteer, filled with details about the airplane. Apparently, when it was with CNAC, it was a Lend-Lease C-47 that rolled off the Douglas assembly line in Long Beach and flew as CNAC #100, and then after the war was renumbered as XT-20. CNAC #100 doesn’t feature in any of the stories I related in China’s Wings, but it was there flying alongside the other airplanes I did mention, and being flown by the people in the book. So far, I haven’t seen it in any of the wartime photo collections I’ve perused, but since there are more pictures of airplanes in the old CNAC pilots’ collections than there are of women (by far), I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few photos of #100 I just haven’t noticed yet.
Liz was kind enough to include some photos of their restoration in her email (and grant me permission to post them). They’re in the gallery below, and I must say, it’s great to have the old bird back in the air.
Isn’t she gorgeous?
* UPDATE! Scroll down and read the comment posted by Pennie Rand. Apparently, her father, ex-CNAC pilot Foster McEdward, flew this exact airplane, both when it was with CNAC, and in the 1950s, when it was a corporate plane.
Here’s a six-month old post featuring Foster McEdward, with two excellent photos.