The Plane named after Rosamonde

Date:2019-09-09      Source:北京宋庆龄故居

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In July 1923, Ching Ling and Sun Yat-sen inspected the Guangzhou airfield where Yang Xianye, the chief of Sun's tiny air force, was demonstrating a plane in flight that was reputededly the first ever built in China. It had a canvas body, an open cockpit, and two seats.

After the flight, Sun suggested that the plane should be called after her, the Rosamonde. Her flight, as Ching Ling surely intended, inspired many young Chinese women with the idea that no heights should be barred to them. It was also a grace note on Sun's slogan for China's nascent aeronautics lament to the earlier the nation and a supportive appearance of some Chinese women air pilots.

On August 14, they boarded the warship Yongfeng where they had been safely reunited.

A well-known photograph shows them on the foredeck,looking very civilian, simply dressed and unassuming, among the starched white-clad officers and sailors. No one would guess from it that they were the center of the occasion.

In October, they Inspected the Guangzhou Aircraft Factory and sailed, by gunboat, to the historic Humen forts at the mouth of the Pearl River, scene of heroic but unsuccessful resistance to the British invasion during the Opium War of 1839-40 which initiated China's downward slide into semi-colonialism. Here they witnessed artillery practice.

Clearly Sun was turning his attention to national defense in its new context-defense of the revolution which would free the country from its servile status.

Ching Ling's frequent attendance at military reviews showed her oneness with Sun on the importance of a revolutionary army. She needed no persuasion.

Added to overall considerations were the deep personal memories of the hardships she and her family had undergone from Yuan Shikai, and of Sun's and her own hairbreadth escape from destruction by warlord Chen Jiongming.