Flying Tiger Line
Pilots Association

Robert L. Bax

bax2-1Flying Tiger Line Pilots Association

In Memoriam...

Robert L. Bax


August 26, 1928

December 22, 1999

Bob was born August 26, 1928, in Girard, Pennsylvania, to Lawrence and Genevieve Bax. He was the second of seven children. He is survived by two younger sisters and one brother.

His passions for flying and "widdling" became known at a young age. Several chairs and table legs became Robert Bax "signature pieces" of "unparalleled design" and uneven leg length. Somehow his mother didn't mind his attempts to "fly" out the second story kitchen window; especially after discovering a new "designer piece."

Bax1-1Wanderlust won out over flying and widdling at the ripe old age of 14 when "Robert" ran off; lied about his age, and joined the Merchant Marines. He spent a brief time as a professional roller skater in the New York Follies Review before WWII. Bob was in the U.S. Army Air Corps. While stationed at Westover Field, Mass., he "skated the skirt off" Catherine "Bunny" Engel of Holyoke, Mass. They were married October 11, 1948. Bob immediately left for Europe and was involved in the Germany Air Lift.

After his discharge from the Army in mid-1949, Bob and Bunny settled in Chicago, Illinois. After taking a "job skills test", he was told he would make a "great piano tuner." This graveled his fanny enough that he took his GED, and was able to take most of his flight training with the GI Bill. He spent most nights shivering, shaking, and studying on the job in the Chicago Belt Railroad yard to acquire his pilot's license and flight instructor's rating. He worked three jobs, made three babies, took flying lessons and studied. Bob was a busy boy.

Bob was hired by the Flying Tigers in April, 1955. He retired in August, 1988. He flew the DC-6, Connie, CL-44, Boeing 707, Super DC-8-63, and the Boeing 747. His wife recalls his first trip as a Captain. He was a new Captain with a new co-pilot. Said he felt like the "Lone Ranger." Bunny asked if he had packed his silver bullets. "You can't play the Lone Ranger if you don't have your silver bullets."

Bob loved his career with 'the Tigers." He felt a true allegiance to the company under the direction of Bob Prescott. He had many wonderful professional friends and many stories to tell. He had many exciting missions and destinations. He flew the DEW Line, African and South American Charters; Vietnam, and the Cambodian Rice Lifts. The last years of his career were as an International Captain in the Pacific; departure bases SFO and LAX.

Aside from flying with the Tigers, he always enjoyed private aircraft. He owned a Bonanza V-tail, followed by his "pride and joy" 1973 Aerobatic Bonanza; then a Piper twin-engine Comanche.

He loved children and people from all walks of life all over the world. Always taking notice of the "Human Condition", he always had a "thumb up" for the underdog.

"Farmer Bax" was an avid vegetable gardener and tree grafter. Fishing was an all time favorite activity; especially in Alaska, and on the remote mountain lakes of Arizona. With his well known wry sense of humor; Bob was a great joke and story teller.

Bob flew west on December 22, 1999, after a lengthy illness. His love and laughter live on in the hearts of those he left behind; Bunny, Bob, Jr., Cathy, Dan, and his grandson, Robert, III.

One of his great philosophical lines; " Just have a good time; because all the rest is bullshit."

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