Flying Tiger Line
Pilots Association

George A. Gewehr

Born 10/5/1935
Hired 9/18/1961 (#15951)
Retired xx/xx/xxxx from FDX (#xxxxx)

My Tiger Tales

I was born in Los Angeles in 1935 and grew up in Inglewood California. I started flying in 1954 at Torrance Airport with the United Airlines flying club. I was working for United Airlines at the Los Angeles airport as a ramp service man or " Bag Smasher" as we called our selves. I was eighteen at the time and wanted to fly airplanes for a living because of growing up during the war years and watching movies about flying. I built models of different types of airplanes as all kids did back then. I worked for United Airlines for three years and was flying as much as I could in my spare time and my spare money. I had acquired my private license during that time and was working toward my commercial when a stroke of luck or fate came along. One of the Captains at United Airlines had a fixed base operation at Torrance Airport with a flying school and charter business. He offered me a job working as a gas boy, clean up guy, sweep up guy, n general a gofer. I would be paid $375.00 a month and I could fly on my days off for free. I could get my commercial and instructors license and then start instructing and flying charters after I got my instrument rating. Needless to say I took the job and left United Air Lines. I had acquired my multi-engine rating and instrument rating and flying charters with Vegas Airways the fixed base operation in Torrance and worked for them for two and half years. I was starting to look around for another job after I had come back from active duty in the Marine Corp reserve. The draft was still around then and I had joined the Marine Corp reserve to keep from being drafted because of my flying job. I applied to a company named Stewart Air Service at Hawthorne airport not to far from Los Angeles airport. Ed Stewart who had flown for North American Aircraft Company as a test pilot during the war years owned Stewart Air Service. I was hired to fly co-pilot on Stewarts DC-3s. He had four DC-3s a Beech 18 and a B-25. He later bought a DC-4 from P.S.A. The core business for Stewart Air Service was flying Douglas Aircraft personnel between Douglas facilities at Long Beach, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Palmdale and Edwards Air Force Base. We also flew charters for the Hacienda Hotel and the Forestry Service plus any other business he could get, such as flying people to the Del Mar race track during the racing season. I got plenty of takeoffs and landings on the Long Beach to Santa Monica run. We would fly five trips before lunch and five trips after lunch. In those days it was much simpler to cross airspace over LAX and make a left turn into Santa Monica. At Stewart Air Service is where I met J.K. Murray and Dan Briggs. J.K. had been hired by TIGERS in 1957 (I Think) but was furloughed for at least four years. He had spent time in the Army and was now with Stewart Air Service. In 1961 when TIGERS was accepting their new CL-44s, J.K. received a recall letter from TIGERS and went back with them. Later on in the month I saw and add in the L.A.Times for pilots at TIGERS. I went over to Burbank for and interview and got hired that day. When I went back to work the next day at Stewart's, I told Dan Briggs about beinghired at TIGERS so he went over on his day off and was hired. This was in September of 1961 and we started 1049 Connie school the next week. What a job, I was going fly a Super Connie all over the United States and get paid for it. Little did I know that not only I would fly in the U.S., but also I would fly the North Atlantic to Europe. But also we learned about furloughs. I was furloughed on three occasions and worked for Hawaiian Airlines for a year. This is where I learned that I missed Tigers so much. Flying with Hawaiian was a fine job, but what I missed at TIGERS was the people I worked with. TIGERS had a dynamics and feeling about it that was different then other companies. I felt that the folks who were with TIGERS were a special kind of people; I couldn't wait to get back with them. In 1965 I was back with TIGERS and was never furloughed again. To say that I flew with the best company in the world and worked with the best people in the world is and understatement. I started on the 1049 Super Connie and retired on the Boeing 747-200. In between I flew the CL-44 and the DC-8-63 around the world and back. I met my lovely wife of 31 years at TIGERS. Julie Murtough came over from P.S.A. to fly the troops to Vietnam. Those were exciting and heady days during the Nam war. TIGERS crews flew some very interesting and dangerous missions during the days of Vietnam. They are gone into history now, but the memory still lives.

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