On November 23, 1916, Pacific Aero-Products tested its first all-original airplane, the Model C naval trainer. The plane was designed by a Chinese engineer, Tsu Wong (b. 1893), who was educated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked for Boeing before he returned to China. It was first flown from Lake Union with Herb Munter (1897-1970) at the controls.
The success of the Model C led to Boeing's first military contract in April 1917 and prompted both its reincorporation as the Boeing Airplane Company and relocation from Lake Union to a former shipyard on the Duwamish River.
As for Tsu Wong, he held important positions in China with the Hangzhou Aircraft Factory, the Chinese Air Force, and the China National Aviation Corporation with the Nationalist Government. When he fled the Mainland to Taiwan in 1949, he helped found China Airlines.
Harold Mansfield, Vision, The Story of Boeing (New York: Popular Press, 1966), 18-19; Peter M. Bowers, Boeing Aircraft Since 1916 (London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1993), 41; Boeing Historical Archives, Year By Year, 75 Years of Boeing History, 1916-1991 (Seattle: Boeing Co., 1991), 2; "Tsu Wong in China," Aloft: The Museum of Flight Magazine, Vol. 28, No. 1 (January/February 2006), p. 4-5.
Note: This essay was expanded on February 13, 2006.
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