Flying Tiger Line Pilots Association
Welcome Home kiss from wife Jo Ann
1976 In Tokyo, where Stu began his last flight, Flying Tigers personnel on hand with a cake (inset) and good wishes. Pictured are (l to r) Al Brown, S. Ikeda, N. Okada, Vic Newman, S. Takagi, M. Narita, Stu, M.Sakurai, and S. Hasemi.
Taken from a Tigereview:
There always has to be a first time for everything, only some "firsts" aren't as welcome as others. In this case, the occasion was the first Flying Tigers B747 captain to retire; and the captain who got the distinction - 27 year Tiger Stu McMahon - was decidedly reluctant.
"I'm not ready for this," moaned the veteran captain upon completing his last flight. He had reached 60 - the mandatory retirement age for pilots.
Stu's last trip was from Tokyo to Seattle on Flying Tigers' first B747, #800. In Tokyo, there was an informal gathering of Flying Tigers employees who wished the retiring captain well and presented him with a cake inscribed "Sayonara, Captain Mr. McMahon." Stu left Tokyo in a "roaring rain storm" with crew members Al Brown, first officer; and Vic Newman, second officer.
"It was a good trip - uneventful," he said, arriving in SEA at about 1:30 a.m. As he approached the field, the tower, alerted by the airline's headquarters office, radioed congratulations and said: " Since it's your last trip, Captain, we'll vector you anyplace you want to go!" On arrival, Stu was greeted by his wife Jo Ann.
Leaving the aircraft as captain for the last time, Stu cast a look back at the big plane. It was the 27th different kind of aircraft in which he had been checked out, and although he admitted that the DC-8-63F was probably his favorite of the Flying Tigers fleet, he said, "I wouldn't have missed flying the 747!"
Before joining Flying Tigers in 1949, Stu was a test pilot for Douglas Aircraft. Born and raised in Michigan, he attended college for a year in Georgia, then moved to California in 1937, where he attended the University of Southern California, graduating in 1940. He was a civilian flight instructor for the U.S. Navy before joining Douglas in 1942.
Still grumbling about retirement, Stu looked back over his Flying Tigers career with satisfaction. "Flying Tigers has been great to me," he said. He recalled his first trip with the airline. "It was with Duke Hedman," he said. "We had a load of football players going to New York. Bob Prescott was there waving goodbye."
"Yes, I sure do hate to leave, I couldn't believe it - when control turned me onto the ILS 17 miles out, I realized I was a few minutes from the end of flying. It's hard to give up."Back To Memorials