Wen Chuanyuan

Last updated

Wen Chuanyuan
Born(1918-06-22)22 June 1918
Died1 October 2019(2019-10-01) (aged 101)
Beijing, China
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 文傳源
Simplified Chinese 文传源

Wen Chuanyuan (Chinese :文传源; 22 June 1918 – 1 October 2019) was a Chinese aeronautical and automation engineer. He was a professor at Beihang University and co-founded its School of Automation Science and Electrical Engineering. He developed China's first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in 1959 and the first flight simulator in 1983. He was awarded the State Science and Technology Progress Award (First Class) in 1985.

Simplified Chinese characters Standardized Chinese characters developed in mainland China

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China, Malaysia and Singapore.

Beihang University

Beihang University, previously known as Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (simplified Chinese: 北京航空航天大学; traditional Chinese: 北京航空航天大學, abbreviated as BUAA or Beihang) is a major public research university located in Beijing, China, emphasizing engineering, technology, and the hard sciences.

Unmanned aerial vehicle Aircraft without a human pilot aboard

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft without a human pilot on board and a type of unmanned vehicle. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS); which include a UAV, a ground-based controller, and a system of communications between the two. The flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator or autonomously by onboard computers.


Early life and education

Wen was born 22 June 1918 in Xinqiao Township, Hengshan County, Hunan, Republic of China. [1] [2] His father, Wen Bingnan, was a farmer. He entered Yue Yun Middle School in Changsha in 1933, and Hunan No. 1 Normal School in 1936. When the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in July 1937, Wen and other high school students received military training organized by the provincial chairman Zhang Zhizhong. [3]

Hengshan County County in Hunan, Peoples Republic of China

Hengshan County is a county in the Province of Hunan, China and it is under the administration of Hengyang prefecture-level city. Located in the north of Hengyang and the east-central part of Hunan province, the county is bordered to the north by Xiangtan County, to the northwest by Shuangfeng County, to the southwest and south by Hengyang County, Nanyue District and Hengnan County, to the east by Hengdong County. The county of Hengshan covers 934 km2 (361 sq mi) with a population of 449,500. It has 5 townships and 7 towns under its jurisdiction, the county seat is Kaiyun Town (开云镇).

Hunan Province

Hunan is a landlocked province in Central China. Located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze watershed, it borders the province-level divisions of Hubei to the north, Jiangxi to the east, Guangdong and Guangxi to the south, Guizhou to the west, and Chongqing to the northwest. Its capital and largest city is Changsha, which also abuts the Xiang River. With a population of just over 67 million as of 2014 residing in an area of approximately 210,000 km2 (81,000 sq mi), it is China's 7th most populous province by population and the 10th most extensive province by area.

Changsha Prefecture-level city in Hunan, Peoples Republic of China

Changsha is the capital and most populous city of Hunan province in the south central part of the People's Republic of China. It covers 11,819 km2 (4,563 sq mi) and is bordered by Yueyang and Yiyang to the north, Loudi to the west, Xiangtan and Zhuzhou to the south, Yichun and Pingxiang of Jiangxi province to the east. According to the 2010 census, Changsha has 7,044,118 residents, constituting 10.72% of the province's population. It is part of the Chang-Zhu-Tan city cluster or megalopolis.

After the 1938 Changsha fire, Wen attempted to organize a guerrilla force to resist Japanese invasion in Hunan, but was unsuccessful. He moved to Northwest China, which was free from Japanese occupation, and studied aeronautical engineering at the Northwestern Engineering Institute. [3]

1938 Changsha fire

The Changsha fire of 1938, also known as Wenxi fire, was the greatest human-caused citywide fire in Chinese history. Kuomintang officials ordered the city be set on fire in 1938 during the Second Sino-Japanese War to keep its wealth removed from the Japanese. The result of this fire made Changsha one of the most damaged cities during World War II, alongside Stalingrad, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden and others.

Northwest China Place

Northwest China includes the autonomous regions of Xinjiang and Ningxia and the provinces of Shaanxi, Gansu, and Qinghai.


Republic of China

Upon graduation in 1943, Wen was assigned to work at the No. 4 Aircraft Factory in Guilin, under the Republic of China Air Force. After the surrender of Japan in 1945, Wen joined the faculty of the Republic of China Air Force Academy in Jianqiao, Hangzhou. [3] In 1948, during the Chinese Civil War, Wen resigned from the Jianqiao Academy and returned to Hunan. He joined the Communist Party of China in February 1949 and served as a political commissar in the Communist guerrilla force in Hunan. [3]

Guilin Prefecture-level city in Guangxi, Peoples Republic of China

Guilin,, is a prefecture-level city in the northeast of China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. It is situated on the west bank of the Li River and borders Hunan to the north. Its name means "Forest of Sweet Osmanthus", owing to the large number of fragrant sweet osmanthus trees located in the region. The city has long been renowned for its scenery of karst topography.

Republic of China Air Force Aviation branch of Taiwans armed forces

The Republic of China Air Force is the military aviation branch of the Republic of China Armed Forces. The ROCAF's primary mission is the defense of the airspace over and around Taiwan. Priorities of the ROCAF include the development of long range reconnaissance and surveillance networks, integrating C4ISTAR systems to increase battle effectiveness, procuring counterstrike weapons, next generation fighters, and hardening airfields and other facilities to survive a surprise attack.

Surrender of Japan surrender of the Empire of Japan during the World War II

The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced by Hirohito on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was incapable of conducting major operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent. Together with the British Empire and China, the United States called for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945—the alternative being "prompt and utter destruction". While publicly stating their intent to fight on to the bitter end, Japan's leaders were privately making entreaties to the publicly neutral Soviet Union to mediate peace on terms more favorable to the Japanese. While maintaining a sufficient level of diplomatic engagement with the Japanese to give them the impression they might be willing to mediate, the Soviets were covertly preparing to attack Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea in fulfillment of promises they had secretly made to the United States and the United Kingdom at the Tehran and Yalta Conferences.

Early People's Republic of China

After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Wen joined the training department of the newly established People's Liberation Army Air Force in December 1949. He served as a mechanics advisor and wrote three textbooks for aeronautical engineering, including The Structure of the MiG-15 Aircraft. [3]

Peoples Liberation Army Air Force Air warfare branch of Chinas military

The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is the aerial service branch of the People's Liberation Army, the armed forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLAAF was officially established on 11 November 1949. As of 2014, the PLAAF has a strength of around 398,000 personnel and is the largest air force in Asia.

Wen became an associate professor of North China University in July 1951. [1] When the Communist government reorganized China's higher education on the Soviet model in 1952, Wen was transferred to the newly created Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (now Beihang University). [3] At Beihang, he co-founded the department of aircraft equipment, a predecessor of the School of Automation Science and Electrical Engineering, and served as its chair. [1] [2] He became a full professor in 1962. [1]

In 1957, Wen and his group proposed building an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone. Although Soviet experts cast doubt on his proposal, Beihang's president Wu Guang presented it to Premier Zhou Enlai, who approved the project. [3] Wen based his design of the UAV on the Nanchang Y-5 transport aircraft. [4] In February 1959, China's first UAV, dubbed Beijing No. 5, completed its maiden flight in Beijing. [3] [4]

Cultural Revolution and later career

When the Cultural Revolution broke out in 1966, Wen was persecuted and repeatedly beaten and humiliated, sometimes by his own students. However, when university education resumed after the end of the revolution in 1976, he forgave his former tormenters and continued to teach the students who had beaten him. [5]

In 1975, Wen was appointed the chief designer of China's first flight simulator. The system was approved for use in 1983, and won the State Science and Technology Progress Award (First Class) in 1985. [3] [4] In 1987, Wen founded the Flight Control System Research Center at Beihang. [3] He co-founded the China System Simulation Association in 1988 and served as its first president. [3] [6]

Although nominally retired in 1988, he taught at Beihang until 2003. [5] He donated more than 150,000 yuan to the university for student scholarships. In September 2018, he was conferred the "Shude Liren Achievement Award" by the university. [5]

Wen died on 1 October 2019 in Beijing, aged 101. [1] [2] [4]

Related Research Articles

Song Wencong was a Chinese aircraft designer, who was responsible for the development of the single seat version of the Chengdu J-10. He was a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Wen Zhang is a Chinese actor. He graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in 2006. Li ranked 58th on Forbes China Celebrity 100 list in 2013, and 45th in 2014.

Cao Jianyou was a Chinese electrical engineer. He was one of the earliest contributors to Chinese railway electrification, a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and an expert in electric power system.

Xu Qing, known also as Summer Qing, is a Chinese actress. She was accepted into the acting class of Beijing Film Academy in 1988 and graduated in 1992.

SYIA UAVs are Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) developed by the Shenyang Institute of Automation (SYIA) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences that include both the fixed- and rotary-wing UAVs, and most of its rotary-wing UAVs are marketed under the brand name ServoHeli.

Zuo Xiaoqing is a Chinese actress, TV presenter and former rhythmic gymnast.

BUAA Poison Bee is a series of Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) developed by Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics UAV Design Research Institute (北京航天航空大学无驾驶飞行器设计研究所) of Beihang University (BUAA). Poison Bee UAVs are mainly intended for reconnaissance missions, and have since entered service with Chinese military and governmental establishments.

Shenyang JJ-1

The Shenyang JJ-1, also known as the Hong Zhuan-503 or Red Special, was a jet trainer developed in the People's Republic of China (PRC) during the 1950s. It was the first jet aircraft designed in China, with Xu Shunshou as the chief designer. Two prototypes flew, but further development was abandoned.

Liu Yudi

Liu Yudi was a MiG-15 pilot of the People's Liberation Army Air Force of China, and a flying ace during the Korean War, with 6 victories. He later served as Commander of the Beijing Military Region Air Force, and was awarded the rank of lieutenant general in 1988.

Shi Ping was a Chinese aircraft designer, who is responsible for the development of the two-seat intermediate jet trainer Hongdu JL-8. He was a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Chen Nengkuan was a Chinese metallurgist and physicist. He was a detonation physics expert and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He was known as one of the founding fathers of Two Bombs, One Satellite.

Jessie Li, also known as Chun Xia, is a Chinese actress. Her film credits include Port of Call, Hide and Seek and The Hidden Sword.

Li Tian was a Chinese physicist and aircraft designer. An expert in aerodynamics for aeronautics, he served as chief scientist of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. He was also an adjunct professor at Beihang University.

Guan De was a Chinese aeroelasticity engineer and aircraft designer. He participated in the design and development of the Shenyang JJ-1 jet trainer and the Shenyang J-8 and J8-II interceptors. He served as Chief Engineer and Vice President of Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, Deputy Director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and professor of Beihang University. He was an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Xu Shunshou

Xu Shunshou was a Chinese aircraft designer and a founder of the aircraft manufacturing industry in the People's Republic of China. He was the founding director of the PRC's first aircraft design organization, where he oversaw the development of the Shenyang JJ-1, the first jet aircraft designed in China. He trained many of the country's top aircraft designers and also participated in the design of the Nanchang CJ-6 trainer, the Nanchang Q-5 jet attack aircraft, and the Xian H-6 bomber. He was severely persecuted during the Cultural Revolution and died at the age of 50.

Tu Jida was a Chinese aircraft designer who led the development of five models of aircraft and was hailed as the "father of the Chengdu J-7" family of jet fighters. In the 1950s, he participated in the development of the Shenyang JJ-1 trainer and was a chief designer of the Nanchang CJ-6 trainer. Starting in 1960, as chief designer of the Chengdu Aircraft Factory, he developed the fighter jets Shenyang J-5A, Chengdu JJ-5, and several variants of the J-7 fighter, including the Chengdu J-7M, then China's only warplane competitive in the world market. He was an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Lu Xiaopeng was a Chinese aircraft designer who spent most of his career at Hongdu Aviation. He was the chief designer of the Nanchang Q-5 supersonic attack aircraft, one of the most widely deployed aircraft of the PLA Air Force. He also designed the Nanchang J-12, the world's lightest supersonic fighter, which however never entered service. He was an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Ding Yi was a Chinese electrical engineer and business executive. He established the state-owned Dongfang Electric Corporation in 1984 and served as its general manager for ten years.

Liang Shoupan was a Chinese aerospace engineer. The chief designer of China's first generation of anti-ship missiles including the HY-1 and HY-2, he is regarded as the "father of China's cruise missile program". He also designed the C-101, C-801 and other missiles. He was an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the International Academy of Astronautics. In 2006, he was one of the five scientists who received the Highest Achievement Award of China's aerospace industry.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "我国首架无人机设计制造者文传源逝世 享年101岁". The Beijing News. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 "我国首架无人机设计制造者文传源逝世". Sciencenet. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Xu Kang 许康; Xu Zheng 许峥 (2012). 湖南历代科学家传略 [Biographies of Scientists from Hunan]. Hunan University Press. pp. 98–99. ISBN   978-7-81113-928-0.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Guo, Meiping (4 October 2019). "Designer of China's first UAV dies at 101". CGTN. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  5. 1 2 3 Liao Jin 廖瑾 (10 September 2018). "师者|百岁"大先生"文传源:做人一生要正,干事要彻底地干". The Paper. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  6. ""立德树人成就奖"获得者——文传源". Computer Simulation 计算机仿真. 36 (01): 487. 2019. ISSN   1006-9348.