Flying Tiger Line
Pilots Association

Alan G. Samford

Al_Harley1In Memoriam

May 1, 1951- July 8, 1999

Captain Alan G. Samford was hired by Flying Tiger in April of 1973. While there, he flew the DC-8, B-747 and B-727. After the merger with FedEx, he flew the B-727 and finally the DC-10.

Al grew up in the little town of Chrisman, Illinois, and graduated second in his high school class in 1969. He began flight training at Purdue University, majoring in Professional Pilot Technology. He received his pilot license in January, 1970. Al graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree with a GPA of 3.48 (scale of 4.0). He was a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honorary Scholastic Fraternity.

Als_AT6_inflightAl work as a Commuter First Officer part time during college with Vercoa Air Service Inc., located in Danville, Illinois. As was already stated, he was hired by Flying Tigers in April of 1973. During the furloughs at Tigers, Al worked as a flight instructor and Cessna 310 captain for Bowman Aviation in Paris, Illinois. From January through August of 1976, Al flew as an air mail captain on a Beech 18 for Hamilton Aviation in Hamilton, Ohio.

While flying full time for Flying Tigers, Al attended law school at Seton Hall University. He graduated Juris Doctorate, 1990, with a GPA of 3.42 (scale of 4.0). He was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1990.

Not everyone knew of Al's love for thoroughbred race horses. In 1981 he purchased a filly, and he named her Lass Trump. She ran in 18 races during her two years, won ten races, and was never less than third in any race. She ran on the west coast (Hollywood Park) and east coast (Belmont and Saratoga) and tracks in between. She was a very good horse. In 1984 he had her bred and she produced several foals, however none were good runners. At the time he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrigs's Disease) late in 1998, he had a "special" colt he named King's Messenger. Knowing his fate, he set up a corporation with his parents, sister and nieces. So far King's Messenger is doing quite well. If you follow horse racing, look for King's Messenger, Al's horse.

Als_AT6In January 1997, Al purchased a North American AT-6D war bird. He enjoyed every flight he had in it. He took anyone for a ride who dared to ride with him, and had hopes of doing more. Al planned to meet John Dill in ST. Louis, and the two of them were going to fly to Vicksburg, MS, to tour the Civil War sights. Al was a student of the Civil War. The trip never happened though. There was a slight mechanical problem with the plane, and Al's disease progressed unexpectedly fast. He was a member of EEA War birds of America and War Birds Worldwide.

After the merger with FedEx, Al became quite active in ALPA organizing. He was the LEC chairman in Newark. He also served on several committees including what would become the grievance committee. Al eventually served for a short time as MEC chairman. These were very tough times for Al and the stress was enormous at times for him, as it was for others. There were many political divisions within the union, divisions which were probably reflective of the pilot group. Eventually Al thought it best to resign as chairman of the union and let someone else take over.

The following are a few words from Al's parents:

We want to thank each and every one who sent cards to us and the donations to the ALS foundation in Alan's memory. We will never forget the outpour from the pilots. (A special thanks to John Dill and Ken Rawlinson who served as pallbearers).

Clyde and Viola Samford

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