Flying Tiger Line Pilots Association
Carey Edwin Bowles
Carey Edwin Bowles, life-long pilot, aeronautical engineer and experimental aircraft builder, has passed away at the age of 90. Born in 1921, he was six years old when Lindbergh made his attempt to fly the Atlantic. Despite Lindbergh being dubbed ‘the flying fool’ by the press, the young Carey had faith he would reach Paris and was thrilled to hear of his success. It was then he decided he would fly airplanes.
In his early education he skipped both the third and sixth grades and as a consequence was deemed too young to attend college at sixteen. Staying an extra year he took as much science and mathematics as was available, studiously avoiding foreign languages. Ironically he would soon be spending much time in foreign countries.
In 1938 he enrolled at Texas A&M wanting to study aeronautical engineering but as the course only became available two years later he was obliged to begin in mechanical engineering. In 1939 the Civil Aviation Administration, selected 40 students for flight training at Texas A&M and Carey counted himself lucky to have been among them.
In his early career he worked for the 5th Ferry Group, transporting aircraft around the country and as an instructor for the Women Air Force Pilots (WASP) at Sweetwater Texas. He was especially proud of the later and always maintained he had learned a great deal about flying through teaching.
Carey joined the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) and in early 1945 arrived in Calcutta India. The principal work involved flying C-46’s and DC-3’s across the Himalayan “Hump” from the Assam valley of north western India over Burma and into Western China. He made about one hundred round trips over the “Hump” before the end of the war and relocated to Shanghai at that time. His interest in China and all things Chinese stayed with him for a lifetime.
Returning to the US, Carey re-entered Texas A&M’s Personal Aircraft Research Center, working with the outstanding aeronautical engineer Fred Weick (who for many years ran the wind tunnel for NACA, now NASA). Among their designs they built the first aircraft designed for agricultural use.
Longing to return to flying, Carey joined Flying Tiger Line in 1951 and was involved in ferrying soldiers back from the Korean War. He met the love of his life Cynthia Alexander, a nursing flight attendant on these missions.
Based in Newark with the Flying Tigers, he worked for 30 years, becoming Chief Pilot and was proud to have flown 747’s for the last two years of his career, reluctantly retiring from commercial flying in 1981, having reached the mandatory age.
An active member of the Experimental Aircraft Association and fascinated by the designs of Burt Rutan, Carey began constructing a “Long EZ” aircraft at Warwick Airport in New York State. For many years he flew his plane almost every week, becoming a member of the UFO’s (United Flying Octogenarians) in 2001.
Remembered by his fellow flyers as the best pilot they ever knew, his advice about flying, to anyone who asked, was “make small adjustments”. In 2007 Carey received the Wright Brothers “Master Pilot Award”.
He is survived by his wife Cynthia and daughter Cindy. A Memorial gathering will be held in the Spring 2012Back To Memorials