Flying Tiger Line
Pilots Association

Association History

In the early 1970’s the original pilots who help founded the Flying Tiger Line were approaching the required retirement age of 60. The concept of an association for these retired pilots was the idea of Captain John “Dick” Rossi, legendary ace of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) during World War II, and one of the original investors in Bob Prescott’s fledgling all cargo airline, National Skyways, in 1945.

In 1974 Dick Rossi and his wife, Lydia, invited a number of such retired pilots to their home and began working on the framework for an association that would carry on the legacy and spirit of the Flying Tiger Line, including our airline’s historic roots from within the AVG. Rossi, not really wanting an officer position, was nevertheless elected the very first president of what was then call the Flying Tiger Line Retired Pilots Association (FTLRPA). Herb Wall was elected Vice President, Bob Conrath was elected Treasurer, and Jim Bledsoe was elected Secretary. These other officers were all legendary pilots in their own rights during the war and had been with the airline since the beginning as well.

In 1990 the current FTLRPA President, Lamont “Shad” Shadowens, realized the enormous amount of work that was becoming involved in planning the yearly reunions and enlisted the professional services of Mrs. Sandy White. She has been with us ever since for the past 28 years and is our Meeting Planner for Life.

In 1995 the “R” was dropped from our group’s name and all actively employed cockpit crewmembers were invited to join, regardless of age or employment status at the company. Everyone involved shortly thereafter recognized that ALL former employees of FTL comprised our collective family and the bylaws were subsequently changed one more time to all any and all FTL employees, active or retired, to join as Associate Members. Former flight attendants, managers, ramp personnel, crew planners, mechanics, and sales persons have since become a valued part of our membership.

There is no other association of former legacy carriers that reunites as FTLPA does each year. In addition, we continue as an informational source for many family members of those who have Flown West, as well as for those interested in the history of FTL.

The Tiger Spirit, the camaraderie that we embrace, and the fond memories we share as employees of Flying Tigers live on because of the genius of the original founders and the dedication of the officers of this association that followed.   Nothing, however, will surpass the enthusiasm of our membership who come and enjoy our yearly reunions and remain engaged with one another. These are the real reasons for the success of FTLPA and will undoubtably keep us flying high for many years to come.

Below is  a listing of the dates and locations of all previous reunions from the past.

YearVenuePresidentVPTreasurerSecretaryNotes - F/A Rep  
1974Rossi HomeOfficers are elected and By-Laws constructed
1975Los AngelesDick RossiBob ConrathJim Bledsoe
1976Los AngelesDick RossiH.J. WallBob ConrathJim Bledsoe
1977San Mateo (SFO)Dick RossiH.J. WallBob ConrathJim Bledsoe
1978Honolulu - Reef HotelDick RossiBob Conrath
1979MazatlanRex TrippTom CottonBob ConrathDon Hassig
1980Tom Cotton
1981San Diego, CatamaranTom CottonBob ConrathDon Hassig
1982Stu.MaMchonDon HassigBob Conrath
1983Stu.MaMchonDon HassigBob Conrath
1984Wash. DC, Holiday InnJim MartinDick PociusBill FranklinMk. Deveraux
1985San Diego, CatamaranDick PociusMk. DeverauxBill FranklinChuck Hammer
1986Kona, King KamehamehaDick PociusMk. DeverauxBill FranklinChuck Hammer
1987San Diego - CoronadoDick StuelkeRex TrippChuck HammerMk. Deveraux
1988Las Vegas - Golden NuggetDick StuelkeRex TrippMorgan HughesMorgan Hughes
1989Avila Beach - Bay InnL. ShadowensEd PinkeMorgan HughesMorgan Hughes
1990Shell Beach - CliftsL. ShadowensEd PinkeJohn DobsonMorgan Hughes
1991Washington, DC- Crowne PlazaL. ShadowensRalph MitchellJohn DobsonElgen LongSandy's First. Anna Chenault Speaks
1992Santa Barbara - Fess ParkerL. ShadowensRalph MitchellJohn DobsonElgen Long
1993San Diego - MarriottJoe CaltonHank GermainRay HopcusJohn Ristano
1994Reno - HiltonJoe CaltonHank GermainRay HopcusJohn RistanoLast FTLRPA
1995Phoenix - WyndhamJohn RistanoPeter PeraltaBuck JenningsFrank TherianFirst FTLPA. Ann Marie Prescott Speaks
1996Shell Beach - CliffsJohn RistanoPeter PeraltaBuck JenningsFrank Therian
1997Las Vegas - HiltonGeorge GewehrPeter PeraltaGene MartinBob Gilbert
1998Phoenix - WyndhamGeorge GewehrBob GilbertGene MartinPete Peralta
1999San Antonio - AnthonyGeorge GewehrBob GilbertPeter OkicichPete PeraltaMartha Maxham
2000San Diego - HanaleiGeorge GewehrBob GilbertPeter OkicichMartha Maxham
2001Seattle - Marriott-WestinDon McComasMike CoppolaPeter OkicichMartha Maxham
2002Sacramento - Holiday InnDon McComasBill MayfieldPeter OkicichJudie Esler
2003New Orleans - MonteleoneDon McComasBill MayfieldPeter OkicichJudie Esler F/A Recogniton Dinner
2004Long Beach - MarriottGeorge GewehrBill MayfieldPeter OkicichJudie Esler
2005Portland - MarriottGeorge GewehrBill MayfieldPeter OkicichJudie Esler
2006Tucson - Omni WestwardGeorge GewehrBill MayfieldPeter OkicichJudie Esler
2007Monterey - MarriottGeorge GewehrBill MayfieldPeter OkicichRobin Pestarino
2008San Diego - HanaleiGeorge GewehrBill MayfieldPeter OkicichRobin Pestarino F/A Recognition Dinner
2009Palm Springs - Aqua CalienteGeorge GewehrBill MayfieldPeter OkicichRobin Pestarino
2010Napa - MarriottGeorge GewehrBill MayfieldPeter OkicichRobin Pestarino
2011Scottsdale - DoubletreeGeorge GewehrBill MayfieldPeter OkicichRobin Pestarino
2012Monterey - MarriottJohn DicksonLarry WeeksPeter OkicichRobin Pestarino
2013San Diego - Crown PlazaJohn DicksonLarry WeeksPeter OkicichRobin Pestarino F/A Recognition Dinner
2014Seattle - Marriott Waterfront John DicksonLarry WeeksPeter OkicichRobin Pestarino
2015New Orleans - Marriott John DicksonLarry WeeksPeter OkicichRobin Pestarino
2016Napa - Marriott John DicksonLarry WeeksPeter OkicichRobin Pestarino
2017Portland - Red LionJohn DicksonLarry WeeksPeter OkicichJoyce Danielson