Chris Pocock – The Black Bats: Covert Air Operations over China from Taiwan, 1951-1969

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Event Date: 29 April – 1 May 2011
East Midlands Conference Centre
University of Nottingham  
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RJ



Landscapes of Secrecy: The CIA in History, Fiction and Memory


Chris Pocock (author and defense editor) – The Black Bats: Covert Air Operations over China from Taiwan, 1951-1969

The history of CIA-sponsored intelligence flights flown over China by Taiwanese pilots is one of the last unexplored frontiers in the history of Cold War aerial intelligence. Drawing upon US and Taiwanese archival documents and oral history interviews with participants, Chris Pocock will discuss the heretofore untold story of the Black Bat Squadron.

Chris Pocock’s interest in aerial espionage started in the early 1970s with a visit to Davis-Monthan AFB, then the home of the U.S. Air Force wing that flew the unique U-2 spyplane. In 1989, his first book, Dragon Lady – A History of the U-2 Spyplane, received critical acclaim. He continued to follow the history and current operations of this long-lasting aircraft, and was instrumental in ensuring that an original U-2C aircraft was preserved and transferred to the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, UK. He was invited to fly in the U-2 in 1997 — the first foreign civilian to do so. His book, The U-2 Spyplane: Toward the Unknown, was published in 2000, after which the CIA’s chief historian described him as “today’s foremost authority on the U-2 and its development.” His definitive work, 50 Years of the U-2, was published in August 2005 to mark the aircraft’s golden anniversary. His latest book, The Black Bats (with Clarence Fu) is another story of aerial espionage during the Cold War, that has never been told before. Chris Pocock lecturers to postgraduate academic courses, on technical intelligence-gathering during in the Cold War.

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