Eurasia Ju-52 at Chungking’s Sanhupa Airport

A partnership between Lufthansa and the Nationalist Chinese government, Eurasia Airlines was CNAC’s great commercial rival through the 1930s and early ’40s.

An email correspondent just brought this superb photo to my attention. It shows one of Eurasia’s Ju-52s, and he asked if I thought it was taken at Chungking’s Sanhupa Airport, a cobblestone airport built on a Yangtze sandbar below the city.

Eurasia Ju-52 at Sanhupa

I told him that I thought so, but then decided to see if I could figure it out for sure.

Comparing the hills in the background with this photo, which I know was taken at Sanhupa, I think it’s a definite confirmation.


The two hilltops immediately right of the pole in the picture above are an exact match to the two hilltops at the extreme right of the Ju-52 photo.

China’s Wings



      1. Hi Greg,
        Did I ever send those promised photos?
        If not I have more and time to send these days

        1. Sorry to be so slow on the uptake here, Penny. In answer to your question, I don’t think you ever sent them. I’d love to add them to the site! My contact info above still works. Thanks, GC

  1. Hi Greg,
    Would love to send you a copy. One is a a photo I took of a poster on wall in old old area of the city but the best one is also a photo of a photo which is on display in the Flying Tigers Exhibition Hall which I pop into regularly.
    Have you heard of Eddie Long? He died last October but he was quite well known for his association with the Flying Tigers also he wasn’t technically one of them. But he did fly the hump and bombing raids over Eastern China.

    Let me know how to get the photos to you – dropbox ??


  2. Hi guys,
    Very interested to find these photos and read your comments. I have been living in Chungking for the past 12 years and in the course of my explorations and research I’ve found a number of old photos and even and old video footage of Madame the the Generalissimo boarding a plane on that strip. I have a view of the island from my apartment and just want to confirm that both photos are taken looking downstream.

    The JU shot is looking more easterly towards Chaotianmen which is the junction of the Yangtze and the Jialing Rivers while the second photo showing the hut is looking more to the south.

    I’ve just recently found two old photos of the island. One most likely taken from Pipashan, the highest point on the peninsular, probably taken just after the laying of the tarmac as it’s just got the bare strip, no buildings and looks very small and lonely in the middle of the river.
    The second was taken some time later, has three aircraft parked on the north side and a pontoon from the north bank.

    1. Wow, Penny, that is very exciting! I’m happy to receive your confirmation of the location.

      Are any of your photos and videos posted online? If they are, I’d love to link to them. If they aren’t posted, perhaps you could send scans that I could post? They sound really interesting.

      Also, could you perhaps take a photo of the island looking from your apartment? That would be fun to post as well.

      Thanks so much for reaching out. Cheers! Greg

  3. Hi Gregory,

    first of all, let me express my deepest appreciation for “China Wings”. It is one of the best pieces of literature I have read about the subject!
    About the photos above: I think they were shot in opposite direction. The Ju52 image faces up river. It shows the Yangtze bending to the left. About a kilometer after the bend were the dreaded power lines that crossed the river.
    The DC2 shot is facing down stream in my opinion – a bit farther down behind the bend is the tip of the Chungking peninsula and the Kweilin estuary. The shed in the foreground is one of three (2 service huts and the operations / restaurant building in the middle, not visible).
    The pattern of the hills in the greater area is quite repetetive throughout and very interesting from a geological standpoint.
    Your great book is helping me a great deal in a historical scenery design project for a flight simulator, if I may add this. See . Since I work on the landscape and designing the 3d objects I think I’ve good a pretty good grasp of the location. This is thanks to great resources like “China Wings”, to close the circle. :-)


    1. Thanks for checking in, Mark. Very interesting stuff. Be pretty cool to simu-fly the old CNAC routes. (I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree over the upstream/downstream thing… IMO, those background hills aren’t just similar, they’re exact matches.) But I’m not prepared to fall on my sword over that opinion, either. Cheers, and thanks… so glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed China’s Wings. Greg

  4. Hello,
    just read Patricks message. i have to write an essay about Johannes Rathje and his adventure with the Mongolians for my Mongolistik professor. Would it be possible to send me some more info about ur gandfather concerning that episode, Patrick?

  5. I’m am grandson of Eurasia JU pilot Johannes “Johnny” Rathje. Have first hand photos and also quite detailed account of the events involving Johnny Rathje written by my grandmother who was a journalist. My father is alive and also has detailed memoires from Eurasia. Do you have interest to compare notes, maybe we can add interesting facts/details to the story?

    1. That sounds very interesting, Patrick. I’d love to see what you’ve got about Eurasia. How old was your father during the Eurasia years? Thanks for getting in touch, Greg

      1. Gregory, I would love to get yo detailed answers to questions about my grandfather and his family adventure

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