DC-3 Airways
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DC-3 Airways Virtual Airline
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Various locations in China, Burma and India

The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew from India to China to resupply the Flying Tigers and the Chinese Government of Chiang Kai-shek.

The pilots started flying The Hump in April 1942 when the Japanese blocked the Burma Road, and they continued to do so until 1945 when the Ledo Road opened.

Flying over the Hump was a risky Endeavour. The air route led first over the Himalayan foothills and finally to the mountains, between north Burma and west China, where violent turbulence and terrible weather was standard. The aircraft flew around the clock from one of their bases in north-eastern India, landing about 800 kilometers away at one of the Chinese airfields. Some crews flew as many as three round trips every day. Due to the isolated region, parts and supplies to keep the planes flying were in short supply, and flight crews were often sent into the foothills to gather up the debris from previous crashes for parts to repair the remaining units in the squadron.

Severe weather existed on the Hump almost year around. The monsoon season, with heavy cloudiness, fierce rain and embedded severe thunderstorms with turbulence severe enough to damage aircraft, existed from around May into October of each year. The late fall and winter flying weather was better with many VFR days. However, heavy ground fogs, with ground visibilities down to zero/zero, occurred almost nightly during the early winter, and severe thunderstorms still occurred over the route on an irregular basis. Winter winds aloft were extreme, often exceeding 100MPH. Most night flying had to be done by instruments from takeoff due to lack of any ground or horizon references, until well into western China.

Early flights were basically daylight operations that were often forced to the northern portion of the Hump due to the presence of Japanese fighter aircraft to the south flying out of Myitkyina, Burma. Terrain heights in this area generally averaged around 15,000 to 16,000MSL. This was the high Hump.

The Hump initially contained few Enroute navigational aids. Enroute communications were poor, and air traffic control, except for local control towers, did not exist. Aeronautical charts were very unreliable and weather reporting was very poor. These conditions slowly improved after the arrival of the U. S. Army Airways Communications Service (AACS) in August 1943.

A DC3-Airways certificate is available after pilots have completed 25 flights - see here for details.