Flying Tiger Line
Pilots Association

The 1940s Page 3

THE C-54 -DC-4 ERA

forties7aIn December 1946, Flying Tigers bid on and received its First Transpacific Military Contract. For the next year the company flew eight transpacific flights daily.

"GOLDY: The Air Transport Command contract was for the military to provide 32 C-54s, and we would provide the flight crews, maintenance and operations support. We had two departures a day to Tokyo and two departures a day to Honolulu. All these flights were from Travis AFB California.

When Bob announced that he had this contract, there were only two Tiger Pilots who had flown the C-54. Neither one of us were current according to military requirements. So Bob had no choice but to go out on the street and hire pilots. Because a lot of Air Corps pilots at Travis had inside information, several of them got immediate discharges from the service and hired on."





"JOE RAFFERTY: I was a former 6th Ferry Group Pilot at Long Beach. and A C-54 instrument instructor at Homestead, Florida. I had my ATR and was qualified as captain.

I heard about the ATC contract from a friend at Slick Airways. I gave Tigers a call and was told to report to Lockheed Air Terminal for a 07:00 January 1, 1947, departure to Tokyo.
With a rout check out of the way, and with very little rest, I was on my way to Tokyo again. We had crew changes at Honolulu, Kwajalein, Guam and Tokyo. Sometimes we also had mail stops at Johnston Island and Iwo Jima. At Tokyo we stayed at the Meisner House, formerly the German consulate.
I was getting up one morning for an 6:00 departure when I heard water running and lots of giggling from a five-stall shower which was obscured by steam. They were Tiger Pilots who were doing some research, but I never did identify them.
Goldy:   At the time we had no seniority list, so the guys who were hired for the ATC contract set up their own and had their own chief pilot. As far as they were concerned we were out of a job. I went to Bob and pleaded our case telling him we had been with him since the beginning and certainly should have some priority on this. He assured me that as soon as the operation got going and e were checked out, we would be phased in the system.
I volunteered to come in with no pay to set up the training program, thereby insuring that we got checked out first. I got John Long and myself qualified, then turned it all over to Herb Wall and John and I went flying. Because of the way the ATC guys tried to treat us, when the contract was over in the fall of '47 and we won the politics of it all, we said okay, now you are out. Now we set up the seniority list, which did not include anyone hired for the ATC contract."


forties9a"About that time the company acquired a four engine DC-4 and moved from Mines Field to larger facilities at Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank. The employees were greeted by a sign that read "Your Company has moved to Burbank. Park your cars ands board the DC-4."

On October 15, 1947, the Company inaugurated the C-54 "Sky Tiger" which allowed a new and faster non-stop airfreight service from Burbank to Chicago (81/2 hours) and New York (13 hours)


forties11a"GOLDY: In 1947 we bought five DC-4s. We used two of them for charter work on the north Atlantic and the other for domestic routes. Now we could offer nonstop service to New York in only 13 hours. After the ATC contract was over in the fall, they cut back to about five crews on the West Coast for domestic freight, and Bob sent me and Ralph Hedden back to Newark to set up the DC-4 charter business."