The C-46 ERA
The C-46 was to play an important part in the history of Tigers, it was a much larger airplane than the DC-3 and could haul a much larger payload.
Tigers located a couple of C-46's, which they leased. They knew from the China days that they were tough airplanes and could haul a good load, But until now they had not been available. By the time the military began declaring some of their C-46 cargo panes surplus and put them up for sale. Tigers won a bid on eighteen of them which where parked in Pyote, Texas. Now came the hard part."
"Al Goldberg and a crew of his Tiger mechanics went to Texas to get them in shape to be flown to Burbank. Most of the C-46' had less than ten flying hours on them, but many had been stripped of parts and equipment. Some had their wings removed and had engines and propellers on around on the ground. The local inhabitants of the area did not welcome the mechanics. Hundreds of rattlesnakes."
"The mechanics had a tough job, but they managed to get the additional airplanes flyable. In April the C.A.B. (Civil Aeronautics Board) awarded Tigers Airfreight Route 100. It had been applied for in 1946, but that's the government. ROute 100 provided all cargo service from California through the northern states to the East Coast. There were a lot of other things going on in Burbank. The C-46s from Peyote, Texas were going on the Line as fast as they came out of the Hanger."
"DON HASSIG: I'd returned from China about a year before, and when I was ready for a job, I went to Burbank and looked up Fred Heckman, a navigator I'd known in China. He was working for John Long, the Tiger Chief pilot, as a go-fer and general handyman. He introduced me to John and I asked for a job. John had me take Herb Wall, a check Captain, around the field three times, and once that was done, I was a qualified co-pilot. I had about 200 hours in a C-46 in China, but still got the same checkout as any new hire.
I was to be based in Denver, and when I arrived there I reported to Art Seymour, the Denver chief pilot. He briefed me. I was on the schedule for a trip that night. I left for Chicago with Woody Woodward on my first trip with Tigers."
"LARRY LUCCIO: I was with Ken Henderson in a C-46 going to Detroit on dark night. We both were tired and the visibility was poor. After we landed I looked over at Ken and Said, "Geeze, Ken, look how close that house is to the runway. Even the laundry is hanging out there pretty close to our wing tip." Instead of landing on the runway, we sort of landed on the parallel taxiway.
Ken Henderson and I flew together quite often, and we lived pretty close together. I only had one car, but he had an airporter, so he picked me up and we drove down to Newark together. Once the weather was so bad, icing and whatever, the the flight was cancelled. We had no defroster in the old coupe, and the windshield was coated with ice and we couldn't see.
We pulled in to his confectionary store, and bought some candles. We stuck them on the dash and lit them and soon we were on our way. The ice was melting off, and we congratulated ourselves on our ingenuity, Then BAN, the windshield shattered."