Excerpts From Tiger Tales.
"The DEWLINE was the acronym for the Distant Early Warning line of radar installations across northern Canada and Alaska. Flying Tigers was given a subcontract to haul supplies to the various sites during their construction
The even numbered sites were one hundred miles apart, and the odd numbered sites were fifty mi8les apart. The weather ran to extremes. In the winter there were temperatures of sixty below zero, ice wind, sleet, whiteouts and isolation. In the summer it was heat, rain, and fog, along with lots of mosquitoes. But, I'll let the pilots and mechanics that were there tell about it."
"GOLDY: When we first went up on the DEWLINE we had some real problems. The landing gear strut seals leaked in the severe cold, and the struts kept going flat. The seals all had to be changed to a cold weather type.
This was no easy task. The airplanes had to be jacked up and the landing gear struts removed to replace the seals. After reassembly the struts had to be serviced with hydraulic fluid and charged with dry nitrogen. No big deal in a warn hanger, but outside in a howling wind it was another mater."
"The new seals kept the struts from going flat, but they couldn't keep Zalusky's C-46 from going into a snow bank. the following is a good example of a pilot being commemorated for something he's rather forget.
There was a young pilot named "Ski" who's airplane was broken in three at a hundred miles per hour. It became a snow plower and he was painfully hurt in the knee."
"JACK TALKINGTON: At first the crews stayed in a canvas Quonset hut at "Fox" on Prince Charles Island, located above the Artic Circle.
Then it got so cold the mechanics couldn't maintain the aircraft with nothing but a tarp to throw over the engines. We moved down to Coral Harbor on Southampton Island where we had much better facilities."
"GOLDY: I think Wayne Peak was the Captain and Morgan Hughes the copilot on one of the western sites, site 22 or thereabouts. They were landing a DC-4 on the ice and went off the end of the runway and tore the nose gear out. The company sent some maintenance guys up there to fix it.
They got some help from the Eskimos and cut slabs of Ice and built an igloo around the nose of the airplane. I've seen pictures of it. They put Herman Nelson heaters in there but it kept it cool enough to keep the ice from melting. They repaired the airplane, and it was flown out. I think that was the most fantastic job of making do with what they had, which wasn't much and we ended up with much better facilities"