Flying Tiger Line
Pilots Association

Chuck Culver

In Memoriam

March 28, 1939 - May 15, 1988

The following was written by Chuck's wife, Jane.

Charles “Chuck” Culver was born March 28, 1939 to Clarence Culver and Lena Willit Culver, the oldest of three brothers, the younger being Robert and James. Growing up in Sheridan, Wyoming he was the consummate adventurer and explorer and an avid reader of famous explorer's exploits, particularly Arctic explorer's including Ernest Shackleton, one of the principal figures of the Heroic age of antarctic exploration and acquiring an extensive library of the history of their adventures and discoveries.

While most young men of high school age were saving for their first car, Chuck was taking flying lessons. He later attended Sheridan Junior College and then the University of Wyoming for three years, majoring in accounting. He served his country by joining the United States Army and the National Guard of Wyoming to fulfill his service obligation receiving an honorable discharge October, 1968 He was hired by Flying Tiger Line January 3, 1966.

In 1977 he married Jane McGinn (at left with Chuck Westcott) creating a new family with Jane and her son Paul. Chuck's first date with Jane was flying over San Francisco Bay in his beloved Cessna 180. He later upgraded from the Single engine Cessna to the twin engine Piper Aztec so family trips could be extended to greater distances. The Aztec was not long lived in our family when both engines quit while on a flight to Idaho from California for a camping trip. He was able to get those engines to comply; a true professional. Chuck had great plans for that Aztec but his true love was the Cessna 180 which he regretted selling.

Due to Chucks flying that Cessna solo from California to Point Barrow, Alaska for the purpose of observing the work at the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory hoping to be a passenger on the survey flights,  he was introduced to the elite Explorer's Club based in New York, becoming a member in good standing. He was sponsored by Flying Tiger Lines own Captain Elgen Long There were many interesting hours spent with Elgen discussing Chuck's travels and interviews with surviving Arctic explorers, noting Chucks accumulated extensive library and data which would be a valuable resource for all researchers interested in early Arctic Aviation. Chuck often gave programs regarding this exploration at local grammar schools It had been Chuck's dream to fly to Siberia and he was amassing volumes of research on the same. He had always had an interest in the USSR and her share of early day aviators and Arctic explorers. His desired goal was, if given permission, to find a counterpart with mutual interests and invite the selected individual to be his navigator and radio operator, and to come to the U.S. and be his guest for a few days and then accompany him on the ensuing flight to Wyoming and then North across Canada and West across Alaska into the Chukotka National Region of Siberia because of stories of the expeditions and early explorers about the Arctic and the adventure and curiosity of what lies beyond home shores. Unfortunately the dream was not to be when he received a letter from the U.S. Embassy informing him they had received official notification from the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs that permission for this flight would not be granted – Customary in such cases, the Ministry cited no reason for this decision.

Skydiving was also an interest of Chucks and the story is told that he once used a barrel about his weight to test a parachute before he used the “chute” to jump himself – it worked and that parachute is still within the family. In the 60's Chuck became noted for being Wyoming's first Sport Parachutist; the log he kept is a diary of daring skydiving experiences and savoring the freedom of each jump.

Chuck flew the DC-8 and the 747 gaining the rank of Captain (below observing the loading of a special whale charter).





Even though Chuck married and upgraded to Captain he always felt the need to complete his college education through the University of Wyoming hoping to finish with a bachelor's degree in accounting. He was doing this through a communication course and would often call home from trips to see if his latest grades had arrived. His last phone call home a few days before his death delighted him to know he was receiving the highest of marks in his classes. He also had a plan in the works to take his family to the renown dude ranch, The Triangle X Ranch in Moose, Wy. We made that trip in his memory a year after he passed. Chuck was a loving family man and time spent with his children were some of his most precious moments.

Chuck passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack in the Hilton International Guam in Tumon, Guam, May 15, 1988 while on a trip with Tiger's and only six weeks after his 49th birthday.

He leaves behind his wife Jane, son's Paul and Charlie and daughter Meghan who were 18, 7 and 4 respectively at the time of his death. Paul had felt as if he'd “lost a second dad” but, along with his brother and sister, hold cherished memories of their short time with him. Charlie has followed in his father's footsteps with his sense of adventure as well as currently a Captain with Spirit Airlines, Meghan has blessed us with what would have been Chuck's two grandchildren, London and Logan.

Chuck's wish, upon his death, was to be buried in Sheridan, Wyoming overlooking the Big Horn Mountains. There is a gravestone there with an engraved Flying Tiger Line 747 airplane with the inscription:

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Put out my hand, and touched the face of God"



Chuck loved Flying Tiger Line, his aviation career and his family and lived life with a steadfast passion for adventure and possibility.

We wish to thank all of those Tigers who assisted our family in so many ways; our family will be forever grateful. Most important was the assistance of Chuck's copilot on that trip to Guam, Bryan Ableidinger who became immediately responsible for a task he had not foreseen with the completion of required documents and safe keeping of Chuck's personal affects and ensuring his transportation back home with the greatest of professional respect and care.

Chuck, to this day is and will always be, profoundly missed.



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