September 7, 1948 - November 16, 2017
The following was written by Tommy's good friend and fellow Tiger pilot, Russ Beltz.
After learning to fly in California’s Mojave Desert, Tom earned his FAA CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) rating. After moving to Southern California, he went to and graduated from Pepperdine University. Tom continued flying and flight instructing while he was at Pepperdine. On graduation Tom continued flight instructing and flying for a small airline (Golden West) out of LAX.
Tom was hired by Flying Tigers in the first class of 1973 as a DC8–63 Second Officer. He did great during training in both the simulator and line training. He was asked to return to the Training Center as an Instructor and check Second Officer. As Tiger grew and purchased 747’s Tom became a 747 SO Instructor and Check Airman.The next step was 727 Captain. He soon became a Check Airman and instructor. In 1989 Fed Ex bought Flying Tigers. Initially Tom returned to the LAX training center to instruct and check on the DC8-73. In the Fall of 1990 FedEx purchased a “fleet” of MD11”s. Tom was again asked to join the FedEx Training Center in Anchorage, AK. He went thorough transition training at McDonald Douglas in Long Beach, California. As the fleet grew FedEx opened an MD11 training center at their headquarters in Memphis TN and Tom and his family moved to Memphis to continue his work there.
When Fed Ex began replacing the 747’s and MD 11’s with Boeing 777’s Tom was asked to to go to the 777 school at the Boeing 777 training center in Seattle WA and he eventually became an Instructor and Check Airman on the aircraft.
Tom retired on his 65th birthday (FAA required) in 2013 and moved their family back home to Manhattan Beach, California.
Tom truly appreciated working and flying for the Flying Tiger Line and Fed Ex. Tom felt very appreciative to the founders of Tigers and Fed Ex for the great industry they created. He also was very appreciative of all the wonderful friends he worked with and got to know.
May Tom Rest in peace.
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