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Moon Fun Chin

Moon Fun Chin [Pinyin: Chén Wénkuān; Chinese: 陈文宽] was a Chinese-born American supercentenarian who was the last surviving pilot of the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC). His age has not been validated by LongeviQuest (LQ).

Biography

Chin was born in Zhongshan, Guangdong, China on 13 April 1913 (20 March on the lunar calendar). His father, who was an American citizen of Chinese descent, took him to the United States shortly after his birth, settling in Seattle, Washington, before relocating to Baltimore, Maryland, where Chin later completed his high school education.

At a young age, Chin had already exhibited a keen interest in aviation. Soon after completing his high school education, he decided to enroll in Curtiss Wright Flying School and graduated with a Commercial Pilot Licence.

Chin moved back to China in 1933, after getting a job at CNAC due to being recommended by his uncle, who was a friend of William Langhorne Bond, the company’s vice-president. He started work as an aviation mechanic due to his work experience prior to joining CNAC. Two weeks later, he was promoted to a co-pilot of an aircraft on a Shanghai-Beijing route. While on the ground, he still worked as a mechanic.

In 1936, Chin married Elsie Chiang. That same year, he was promoted to the rank of captain. During World War II, he regularly volunteered to partake in military rescue missions, despite being a civilian. He saved the lives of many U. S. military personnel, including Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle. Chin also transported navy officers to and from the Gobi Desert, where the U. S. navy had a weather station.

In 1946, Chin left CNAC to work for China’s Central Aviation Transport Corporation (CATC) as head of operations. In this role, he was responsible for initiating the purchase of new aircrafts, as well as recruiting and training pilots and other crew members. Additionally, he oversaw operations in mainland China when CATC became part of the Civil Air Transport (CAT) of Taiwan in 1947.

In 1951, Chin started his own airline called Foshing Airline, with aviation services from Taipei to Taitung in Taiwan. He later retired as Chairman of the company and returned to the United States. In 1992, Foshing Airline changed its name to TransAsia Airways.

Upon his return to the United States, Chin settled in Millbrae, California. He became the last surviving CNAC pilot following the 22 January 2023 death of Peter Goutiere. At the age of 110, he was among the top 10 oldest living men in the United States.

Chin died in his Millbrae, California apartment on 9 May 2023 at the age of 110 years, 26 days.

Biography partially sourced from the Gerontology Wiki


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Recognition

Chin was recognised by board members of the Flying Tiger Historical Organization at his residence on 9 September 2011, when he was 98 years old.

Chin was interviewed and reported on by many aviation-related outlets since turning 100. As a centenarian, he was friends with the penultimate CNAC pilot, Peter Goutiere (1914 – 2023).

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Attribution