Flying Tiger Line
Pilots Association

The 1950s

The Fifties saw great growth in many diverse operations and using quite a number of different type aircraft. The C-46, DC-4, DC-6 and the introduction of the Lockheed Super H Constellations. The domestic routes continued to grow and Tigers were engaged in many International, Charter, and special operations including the Korean War and Hungarian Refugee airlift and the Building of the DEW line. They would include and network of C-46 bases from the West Coast and even one a Salt Lake City, and on east to Detroit and Chicago and the East Coast. Many contracts with the military for both troop and cargo movement around the world. Specials operations would include the Dew Line which was the establishment of the building of the defense radar site in the far north.


5yearPictured left are the first group of "Five-year" employees. Some are clutching photo albums showing high-points of Flying Tiger's existence. The albums had a $100 bill slipped into them as a bonus, which was a significant sum in 1950.
back row: from left: Red Duehren, Bob Ghormley, Joe Baker, Ed Hembree, Colly Colquette, Buch Buchanan, Charlette Waltz, Bob Prescott, Herb Wall.
front row: Art Lawson, Duke Hedmen, Paul Grace, Joe Cuppett, Helen Ruth Prescott, Rhuel Trimble, Mayo Thomas.
Absent were Bill Bartling, Cliff Groh, Tom Haywood, Ralph Hedden, Skippy Lane andDoug Robbins.

"As the company grew so did the need for office workers, and headquarters outgrew the available office space in the hanger. A new Flying Tiger Headquarters was built on Sherman Way, about two blocks from the Burbank Airport."




fifties1a1On June 25, 1950, the Korean Conflict began. The Military requisitioned commercial aircraft. The Tigers placed the first civilian aircraft in MATS (Military Airlift Command) within 24 hours, and had 7 aircraft available to Mats by mid-August accounting for 10 percent of the commercial lines contribution. The air transportation system which was initiated during the Korean crisis in which committed commercial airlines to the Military was know as (CRAF) Civil Reserve Air Fleet. Flying Tigers had committed all of its aircraft to CRAF and was assigned to MATS Pacific Division. During this period from 1951-1953 to see how important this was the Tigers received almost half of its revenue from these operations. The total FTL roster increased from 528 employees in January 1951 To 1650 by June of 1952.

"The Korean war was in full swing, and Tigers flights were loaded in both directions--fresh young kids full of confidence westbound, and tired and wounded men returning home."


fifties2aBy 1950 the company's gross revenues had risen by nearly $2,000,000 over the precious decade.  Flying Tiger' points of Transcontinental service had grow from six to twenty stations by 1950.

"I wish all Stories could be humorous, or at least have happy endings, but in this business reality dictates otherwise. Tigers had their first fatal accident since the Budd crashed in New Mexico in 1947.


The following is from the C.A.B. accident report: "At approximately 9 PM local time on January 7, 1953, a Douglas DC-4 N86574, owned and operated by the Flying Tiger Line, crashed two miles south of Issaquah, Washington, during an instrument approach to Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington. All seven occupants were killed."

A second hanger facility was constructed at the Burbank facility

A second hanger facility was constructed at the Burbank facility