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- LastName: Baird
- FirstName: Bob
- DOH: March 1965
- EmpNumber: 19186
I was hired in early 1965,I had 430 hours SEL and a wet instrument ticket it was so new. I had been an FAA ATC at OAK Center prior, and Don Saunders said even if I could not fly I could copy a clearance! little did I know I was in the so called "Golden Class", no furloughs, early upgrades ( for most). Lucky beats smart a lot of the time! Schooled on the Connie and again lucky as Oakley was my flight instructor and put up with some amazing flying, or lack of, on my part! After a short time on the line, off to Burbank for Cl-44 school. Two weeks into the ground school I decided ( well, it had been decided for me!) to skip the next three years of heavy transport flying for 3 years flying for the US Army, first as a gun Helicopter pilot in vietnam, then a Helo IP. I came back to Tigers in '68 to find the DC-8-63 was capable ot taxiing faster then flying the training Helos I had just left! The fun trips for me but not my Captains I am sure were the ORD-CLE legs where at arrival I
was still just departing ORD many times!
In '71 checked out in the left seat as had just got my required 2000 hrs as a FO.I flew the Eight for the next 10 years and then moved on to the 74. I flew that airplane until it retired from Fedex and when it left so did I as I had no desire to finish my career ( I was pushing 59 at the time) in a new airplane. In retrospect maybe I should have done the last year as I found I really missed the people, the flying, and the trips. What I don't miss are the 073 departures LAX-SFO-ANC at 0100 after being up at least all day and never getting the clock reset for the rest of the 10 day trip. It's still not reset. I continued to fly military Helos until they too decided they had seen enough of me, so gone at 60.
I had to give up flying my RV4 about 3 years ago due to nerve damage for which pain meds keep me from renewing my Class 3. I could do the LSA thing but decided not too at this point. I study military history as a hobby and did a short tour with the ER Army ROTC Department teaching same but that was years ago. My wife and I do some travelling and as of this date have had to pre-plan that as have another ( 3 year old) mutt rescued a little over a year ago. Some people never learn. Good Dog!
Tigers was unique and all of us are among the most fortunate in the aviation world to have been a part of it. I think of some event and the people involved many times a week, for this is what memories are all about. Fair winds and safe journeys to all.
My father, Roy G McLain worked for FTL from 1955 until his retirement at age 60. He spent many happy years with Tigers. I worked in the training department myself in the 1960's. It was a great time, a great experience, and I met many wonderful flight crews and other FTL staff. I look back fondly on the years our family spent with Tigers. I now live in Oregon with my husband Montie. I raised two children, a girl Alyce now 33 and a boy John now 25 who both live in Oregon as well. I now work for the State of Oregon as an Case Manager. I am looking forward to my retirement in just a few years.
- LastName: BRENOT
- FirstName: PAUL/DARLENE(basile)
- DOH: 1975?
Hello tiger family! what wonderful experiences! as for myself, i joined the tiger family FA group in 1977.....had previously flown for world airways and airlift international! over these years have wondered many times what happened to the gang!?! Paul is still flying with "federal express"....he lives in Florida and loves it! I have been living in Esau, Costa Rica...and love paradise. Bridgette Springer was a great friend and ski buddy.....she lived in reno, paul and i lived in squaw valley---and of course all the incline guys that TRIED to ski with us!!! remember one winter day...briquette and i invited Baldwin and some comprades of his....we took him up kt-22..and first stop was THE CHUTE. briggie and i went into the funnel---stopped about half way to the bottom, and when we looked back up the mountain; there was jim standing--in meditation!! well, we laughed so hard........and then, poor Paul....we never had broken bones though......only stories of how brave we were......... then there was the GOURMET CLUB---never forget the time we forgot it was our turn to have the gourmet feed........we simply forgot...but what a lesson when we returned to our house......food on all surfaces of floor, cans opened, ofcourse all of our fine wine gone....Cheryl Baldwin, where are you?? haha remind me of more----someone! how i would love to go to the fly-in......okey, now i have my private lisc.........anyone like to go with me?? well, email email@example.com god bless you all, Darlene
- LastName: Bunch
- FirstName: John
- MiddleName: Blake
- DOH: June 1961
- EmpNumber: 15765
I was hired by Tigers/BUR as a traffic agent when I got out of the Army in 1961. My dad Ralph worked in the instrument shop at that time. Reassigned to LAX which was then just a truck pickup facility. Recalled into the Army 1961-1962; then Don Morrissey, CONOPS, sent me to RJTC as an operations supervisor. Worked there with Ed Hembree and Tommy Tomura until early 1963...furloughed due to loss of MATS contracts. Worked for Ivan Towler (sp?) in SFO a few months. Then back to RJTC. Worked in primarily in RJTC and VVVS with short stints in VTBD, RPMK, RCTP. Lived and traveled to cover operatons with RC "Andy" Anderson. Then 18 months in RKSS. Back to BUR/LAX (moved in 1965)as a procedures analyst. Did wt & bal training on the first 707 (N322F) for ground opns personnel. There six months and back to VVVS, VTBD and eighteen months in VVSD. At VVVS with George Knuckey, Scotty, Alvin Andres. Then VVPU (Phu Cat) for six months. Back to RJTC. Met my wife Elaine there in the O club...she was a nurse in the AF. Got married. Returned to the states (Kentucky) in 1969 and finished undergraduate work in history. Off to Indiana University for a Ph.D. in Folklore and Education. Hired as a professor by the University of Virginia in 1977....still here! Teach folkore/anthro, museum and photography courses. Two daughters (Royanne b. 1970; Kathleen b. 1977)and three grandchildren.
Those were good times and fine people. Miss it. I am glad I was there during that era--doesn't look the same with deregulation, union busting and all. My best to any/all who remember me and those times and places. You will always be special to me. Keep em flying!
Hey Vern....good book!
I was an operation agent in HKG at the Kai Tak, taking care of the DC8-63F's on/off loadings, weight and balance sheet, weather reports from ATC, catering orders for outbound crew members, crew alert......The station manager is Mr. Roy King.( I think his is now in L.A.) I'm now serving as pricing in forwarding company, our agent in States is Fedex
- LastName: Dickson
- FirstName: John
- DOH: July 1978
- EmpNumber: 96665
I was born in Southern California and began my career with Flying Tigers on July 31, 1978 as a flight crewmember based at LAX. Becoming a professional pilot was a dream that I possessed since my first flight lesson at age14 while being raised under the flight pattern of the Torrance Airport. I built my flight hours as a young commercial pilot at Hawthorne Airport and LAX, attending CSULB at night where I earned a Business Administration degree. My boyhood dream was finally realized at age 24 when Tigers hired me and I was checked out as a new Second Officer on the DC-8-63. Quickly surpassing my passion for flying was the sudden exuberance found in being part of something so dynamic – the largest air cargo airline in the world at the time. The Tiger Spirit was instantly instilled in me and has only grown stronger as time has passed.
Although not fully realized at the time, as often happens during unexpected disruptions in life, some of my most fulfilling years as a Flying Tiger came amidst the downturn in corporate profitability during the early 1980’s when I was furloughed as a pilot on April 1, 1982. Captain Dick Wilson, VP of Operations, had directed all departments to place a priority on rehiring furloughed pilots into positions they might be qualified for. I applied for a handful of openings at High Tiger and was hired as a Fuel Data Analyst in the Flight Planning Department on the 3rd floor. Under the watchful eyes of Basil Pepper and Ken Bucklee, I worked closely with flight planners, crew planners, and managers within the charter department, and was exposed to a side of FTL that most line pilots never get to see. More importantly I gained an appreciation for the close bond that existed among all employees who worked in headquarters, the Can Do attitude, the smiles and the warmth, and subsequently made many new life-long friends during my short tenure at a desk.
I was recalled as a pilot on April 1st, 1984. For the next five years I flew in various seats on the DC8, B747, and B727 and was based in MCI, ORD, and JFK. After T-Day, as a B747 First Officer, FedEx began selling aircraft, the New York crew base was closed, and I was transferred to Memphis to begin training as a DC10 First Officer. My new wife, Jeanne, and I moved from Southern California to Tennessee to begin the second part of my career eventually assuming the position of Captain on the B727, DC10, and MD11. I retired from FedEx after 38 ½ years of combined service on December 31, 2016.
I currently live with Jeanne in Dallas, Texas and am the grandfather of three. I’ve kept my passion for the Flying Tiger Line alive through participation in the Flying Tiger Line Pilots Association and the Flying Tiger Club. In 2012 I was elected as President of FTLPA. In 2019 I assumed the position of Museum Director for the Flying Tiger Club.
I consider it an honor to have a position with both associations and pledge my dedication to helping preserve the legacy of our great airline. Like most of us, I will be forever grateful for the privilege of being a part of the Flying Tiger family. I have devoted a significant amount of time in the past decade trying to ensure that recognition of our uniquely wonderful company continues for many more years to come.
- LastName: Fred
- FirstName: Enfield
- DOH: 11/22/65
- EmpNumber: 19998
After a few years in the newspaper and defense industries, I graduated UCLA with an MBA in marketing/advertising in '65, and went to work for Flying Tigers doing international advertising and marketing for nearly 25 years, until the merger with FedEx in '89. With Flying tigers I was involved with the Seaboard merger, and implementation of numerous new air freight products, including International distribution Service, Tiger gateway service and Domestic Express Services. With FedEx I was responsible for FedEx Asian advertising, and also marketing for Australasia and Pacific Islands '89-'93. Did a stint in FedEx corporate and air freight marketing and advertising '93-97 in Memphis, TN. Retired in December, '97 and relocated back to California. I keep in contact with many Flying Tiger and FedEx friends, including attending the Tiger Retirement Club annual dinner in So. California every March.
- Harold Ewing
- Hired April 6, 1966
- Emp# 20578
- Vern Moldrem's Tiger Tales. Page 430, 501 (Ethiopian Famine 1979)
I always liked airplanes, and after I read Ernest K. Gann's "Fate is the Hunter" in high school I knew what I wanted to do with my life.
I'm pretty sure I was about the last traditional "airport kid", paying for my licenses and ratings by washing airplanes and mopping floors thanks to the generosity of the owner of the local flight school. After the usual months and years of banging on doors I was hired by Tigers in April of 1966 as a First Officer on the CL-44. In my wildest dreams I could never have found a better place to work than Flying Tigers. The chance to learn my craft at the feet of so many of the "greatest generation" was a benefit that has served me well ever since and for which I'll be forever grateful.
During a fairly long career, now winding down, I flew the CL-44, B707, DC-8, B747 and, after morphing into a new and very different life in 1989, the DC-10 and Airbus. It's been a great ride every step of the way, but by far the best of it was the great years at Tigers- showing the world what "Can Do" really meant.
After 38 years of this nonsense I'm looking forward to retirement and a chance to spend more time playing with my toy cars and airplanes, and maybe finally getting to the reunions on a regular basis.
Editors Note! Harold was one of those who was instrumental in organizing and donating their time to flying relief to several places including the Ethiopian Famine in 1979 as described in Vern's book. Hal and I were discussing some factors that lead us to want to become Air Line Pilots and I discovered that one the big things was Ernest K Gann's book Fate is The Hunter" He sent me to following addition to his bio. Also are some of the relief flight efforts Hal helped organize.
Thanks for the reply, Mike. It is ironic that we both were led to this career by Ernie's book. I've probably read it 20 times- just ordered a new copy from Amazon because my previous one simply wore out. Some time back a magazine article referred to people like us as the "Class of Gann"- apparently there are a lot of similarly inspired airline pilots out there. As for the relief flights, I'll append a little note here which, since you're way more computer savvy than I am, I assume you can somehow paste into the page....
Some of my most cherished memories of my years at Tigers involve the relief flights we were able to do. It started with a plan, blessed by the Company and the Union, to load our passenger DC-8's with relief supplies for the Cambodian refugees and heavy-crew them with volunteers to offset the extra duty time for the required extra fuel stop. Then, when the African famines struck in the 80's the Company donated a 747 on two occasions, once to Ethiopia and once to Sudan, to a relief effort organized by FTL employees. I don't recall any other airline in history donating the use of a complete widebody aircraft for free to such an effort.
These flights were called the "Lifelift" flights. On one of them we carried a cabin load of 280,000 pounds. Operating under Part 91, with a double crew, we went JFK-Frankfurt-Khartoum-Dubai-Taipei same duty time, for a "duty day" of almost 48 hours. I don't track these things but there must be a record of some kind in there someplace. Who else but Flying Tigers could have accomplished something like that?
Thanks, Mike for all your work. I hope to see you at the next reunion, or at least the one after that (for that second one, I'll no longer have work as an excuse to miss it....)
Best Regards- Hal
- Feuerherm, Richard (Dick)
- Emp# 13228
- Hired 11/1957
I was looking for "Slick Airlines" at EWR airport in Nov. 1957 as I heard about part time work loading/unloading airplanes. I stopped in at the 1st hangar I came to at the airport which was the "Flying Tiger Line" to ask directions to "Slick". I met a man there who was sitting at a "teletype" machine. I asked him if he could direct me to the Slick hangar. He asked me why I wanted to find "Slick Airlines". I told him I had heard that they were hiring part time workers to load and unload airplanes and I was looking for some extra work. He chuckled and said he had not met too many people that said they were looking for "work" as most asked for just a "job". He then asked me if I could lift 100 lbs. To this I amusingly said "with which hand?". We both laughed and he then asked me my name which I told him was Richard, he than called me "Dick" (a nickname that stuck with to date) and asked me when I could start working. I replied I was ready now. He told me to report the following day, which I did, and I started working on unloading a C46. Never did I realize that this beginning of my 1st day with the "Flying Tiger Airline" would be a 32 year career that moved me from EWR to BUR and eventually to almost all the countries of the world where I traveled as a Loadmaster and also on other airline related business trips. In Aug. of 1989 when FedEx purchased Flying Tigers, I remained in LAX where I worked as a Sr. Program Administrator and also flew as a Loadmaster on special charters transporting mainly "oversize and/or heavyweight shipments. I retired from FedEx on Jan.1, 1999 with 42 years of service. I enjoyed everyday I went to work at the airlines as I was involved in many challenges of Loading/unloading everything from live animals, i.e., livestock, horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, mink, elephants, to machinery i.e., Indy race cars, Keel for "O'Connor's" yacht (that brought the America Cup back to "America", Craig Breedloves record holding jet powered race car, F-104 Starfighters to NATO bases in Europe, Sweep booms (75ft long ea) for Knoxville Tenn. Worlds Fair, numerous shipments for SeaWorld over a 15 year period transporting Killer Whales, dolphin, walrus, penguins and seals and a single piece record load item on a B747-200 for DuPont that weighed 97,000 lbs. Couldn't have done any of the above with out the assistance of all the personnel at each station involved all around the world and to the professional airline Crews of the Flying Tiger Airlines, and FedEx.
Listed below are just some of the more challenging projects I had the privilege of working on from my beginning as a ramp serviceman to my most enjoyable times flying with "Tigers" as a Loadmaster:
- 1957 - Introduction into loading "Monkeys" on a C-46 ( I was ready to quit)
- 1957 thru 1959 - Loaded/unloaded - C-46's, C54's, DC4's, DC6's - then came the "Connies".
- 1959 - 1/34,000 lb ship shaft - loaded on Super H Connie - EWR/Sicily, 1st oversize pc loading.
- 1959 - 1961 - Loading/unloading - Everyday was an experience.
- 1961 - Transferred to BUR. Then came the CL44's - Worked on Lockheed F-104 Starfighter "Sunrise Twist Two" program over span of 4 yrs. Loading 2- F104 Fighters on CL44's BUR/Germany/Holland/BUR .
- 1964 - Spirit of America jet racing car - BUR/EWR/ORD/BUR
- 1964 - 1969 - 60,000 lb turnaround loading - piece by piece...
- 1968 - Then came the DC8's - Finally....palletized loading.
- 1969 - B707 PAX Charters - Training W/B in AMS station for ops personnel.
- 1972 - First "walk-on" cattle loading DC8 - EWR/SJU....90 head cattle
- 1974 - DC-8 Cattle charters - MEL/Bangladesh/India. (Walk-on system)
- 1973 - B747-100 "Freightmaster" ....touch down.
- 1974 - 1989 The most challenging Loading/unloading shipments on B747's Charters:
- "70 ft. long telephone poles" SEA/DNA.
- "75 ft. long "Sweep Booms" AMS/ Knoxville Tenn. Worlds Fair.
- "B747 Flight Simulator - LHR/LAX.
- "SeaWorld's Shamu(s), Dolphin,Penguin,Walrus,Baluga Whales, etc., etc.,
- "Cat.Generators...42,000 lbs ea....IAH/TYO.
- "Hawaiian Power Plant Generator shaft (40,000 lbs) HNL/TYO.
- "Spirit of St. Louis" Racing Yacht Keel....54,000 lbs. LAX/HNL.
- "Proctor&Gamble - "Diaper Mfg. Machine Charters - USA/TYO.
- "Statue of Liberty" original torch - JFK/LAX - In Rose Parade (1984)
- "Record Loading - Single Pc. 1/97,000 lbs. ORD/BRU...."Just to name a few".
After 1989 my next 10 years with FedEx were met with many challenges introducing FedEx to the "world of oversize & heavyweight shipments".
Fond memories and friends to last me the rest of my lifetime.
Thank you all.
- Gewehr, George
- Emp# 15951
- Hired September 1961
I was born in Los Angeles in 1935 and grew up in Inglewood California. I started flying in 1954 at Torrance Airport with the United Airlines flying club. I was working for United Airlines at the Los Angeles airport as a ramp service man or " Bag Smasher" as we called our selves. I was eighteen at the time and wanted to fly airplanes for a living because of growing up during the war years and watching movies about flying. I built models of different types of airplanes as all kids did back then. I worked for United Airlines for three years and was flying as much as I could in my spare time and my spare money. I had acquired my private license during that time and was working toward my commercial when a stroke of luck or fate came along. One of the Captains at United Airlines had a fixed base operation at Torrance Airport with a flying school and charter business. He offered me a job working as a gas boy, clean up guy, sweep up guy, n general a gofer. I would be paid $375.00 a month and I could fly on my days off for free. I could get my commercial and instructors license and then start instructing and flying charters after I got my instrument rating. Needless to say I took the job and left United Air Lines. I had acquired my multi-engine rating and instrument rating and flying charters with Vegas Airways the fixed base operation in Torrance and worked for them for two and half years. I was starting to look around for another job after I had come back from active duty in the Marine Corp reserve. The draft was still around then and I had joined the Marine Corp reserve to keep from being drafted because of my flying job. I applied to a company named Stewart Air Service at Hawthorne airport not to far from Los Angeles airport. Ed Stewart who had flown for North American Aircraft Company as a test pilot during the war years owned Stewart Air Service. I was hired to fly co-pilot on Stewarts DC-3s. He had four DC-3s a Beech 18 and a B-25. He later bought a DC-4 from P.S.A. The core business for Stewart Air Service was flying Douglas Aircraft personnel between Douglas facilities at Long Beach, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Palmdale and Edwards Air Force Base. We also flew charters for the Hacienda Hotel and the Forestry Service plus any other business he could get, such as flying people to the Del Mar race track during the racing season. I got plenty of takeoffs and landings on the Long Beach to Santa Monica run. We would fly five trips before lunch and five trips after lunch. In those days it was much simpler to cross airspace over LAX and make a left turn into Santa Monica. At Stewart Air Service is where I met J.K. Murray and Dan Briggs. J.K. had been hired by TIGERS in 1957 (I Think) but was furloughed for at least four years. He had spent time in the Army and was now with Stewart Air Service. In 1961 when TIGERS was accepting their new CL-44s, J.K. received a recall letter from TIGERS and went back with them. Later on in the month I saw and add in the L.A.Times for pilots at TIGERS. I went over to Burbank for and interview and got hired that day. When I went back to work the next day at Stewart's, I told Dan Briggs about beinghired at TIGERS so he went over on his day off and was hired. This was in September of 1961 and we started 1049 Connie school the next week. What a job, I was going fly a Super Connie all over the United States and get paid for it. Little did I know that not only I would fly in the U.S., but also I would fly the North Atlantic to Europe. But also we learned about furloughs. I was furloughed on three occasions and worked for Hawaiian Airlines for a year. This is where I learned that I missed Tigers so much. Flying with Hawaiian was a fine job, but what I missed at TIGERS was the people I worked with. TIGERS had a dynamics and feeling about it that was different then other companies. I felt that the folks who were with TIGERS were a special kind of people; I couldn't wait to get back with them. In 1965 I was back with TIGERS and was never furloughed again. To say that I flew with the best company in the world and worked with the best people in the world is and understatement. I started on the 1049 Super Connie and retired on the Boeing 747-200. In between I flew the CL-44 and the DC-8-63 around the world and back. I met my lovely wife of 31 years at TIGERS. Julie Murtough came over from P.S.A. to fly the troops to Vietnam. Those were exciting and heady days during the Nam war. TIGERS crews flew some very interesting and dangerous missions during the days of Vietnam. They are gone into history now, but the memory still lives.
- Happ Doug
- Emp# 214179
- Hired 8/22/2002
Prior to employment with Flying Tigers, I was an air traffic controller in the USAF, based at K.I.Sawyer AFB, Michigan/ Clark AFB, Phillippines/ Udorn, Korat and Takhli, Thailand/ and finally Saigon, Viet Nam. I was discharged in 1964 and was hired by Flying Tigers in 1966. I went to the L-1049H Super Constellation as a first officer. I then flew the CL-44 Whispiring Giant, the Stretched DC-63, the B-747 and finally the Airbus A-300. I flew 12 years as a first officer and then checked out as Captain on the DC8-63 in 1978. I then checked out as Captain on the B-747 in 1982 and the Airbus in 1996. I was a line check airman on the DC-8 and the B-747 and thoroughly enjoyed my duties in the training department. I served as an ALPA rep for 20 years. Membership chairman, negotiating committee member, grievance chairman, relief flights committee chairman, and negotiating committee chairman. I reluctantly became Chief Pilot, Western Region for Flying tigers, then Chief Pilot 747 and Director, Flight Operations for Federal Express and finally Flight Manager 747. I spent eight long years in Flight Management, however, I missed line flying too much to continue. I retired in Paris, France on December 17th, 2000...My wife's birthday. I went out 6 months early. I am currently a B-717 instructor pilot for Flight Safety Boeing in Long Beach, California. I enjoy flying my own C-414 and riding my Harley.
Denny Harjehausen started flying in 1948 in Sibley Iowa. First worked for Flying Tigers on the Flight Line on C46s from Oct 1952 until a number was laid off in 1953. The layoff was found out later to make room for Slick Airline mechanics in a failed attempted to merge. He was rehired by Mr Hickman as a Navigator 1962. Then put on as a co-pilot with Flying Tigers in 1966 after trying to get a pilots job with an airline since 1956. Flew as captain on DC-8, 727 and 747. Retired in Oct. 1989. Now lives in Oregon.
- Hassig Don
- Emp# 5003
- Hired 1/9/195
- Vern Moldrem's Tiger Tales Page 17,19, 85, 92, 117,122,214, 215, 256, 383, 384, 426, 343
I was born Feb.15,1919 on a farm a few miles from Cope, a town of about 200 people in eastern Colo. I grew up in that area and graduated from Cope High School in 1936, in a class of 10. In Sept., 1939, I enlisted in the Army Air Corps and became a radio operator with the 38th Reconn. Sqdn. We had 2 or 3 B-18A's and 5 or 6 YB-17's. In Nov.,1941, I was accepted for flight training. I graduated from Ellington Field, Texas with class 42-E on May 20,1942. I spent the next 18 months flying bombardier students on practice missions at Midland, Texas, mostly in AT-11's, with a little time in the B-34. In Nov.,1943, I started B-17 training at Columbus, Ohio, then went to Avon Park, Fla. for combat crew training, then ferried an airplane to England. We were assigned to the 390th Bomb group. Between Oct.,1944 and Mar.,1945 we flew 35 combat bombing missions over various German cities, including 3 to Berlin. On Feb.14,1945, our 23rd mission, a very close flak burst killed 2 crew members, wounded another and did extensive damage to the airplane. We managed to get into friendly territory and landed at a US fighter base in Belgium. After completing my tour, I returned to the US and was assigned to ATC. I went to C-54 school, then flew 2 trans-pacific trips to Japan. In March,1946, I was transferred to Shanghai, China in a ground job. In Sept,1947, I was discharged from the Air Corps and was hired by CNAC. I spent the next two years flying to many interesting places in China, Mostly in DC-3's with the last few months in C-46's. On Jan.,30,1949, while on a trip from Shanghai to Tsingtao, my airplane was hi-jacked by 4 passengers. One of the bad guys had his wife and baby along. They made me and the other 2 crew members sit in the cabin and one of them flew the airplane. Since they were the only ones with guns, we had no choice. After their "pilot" almost crashed while trying to land at Tsinan, a city about 200 miles west of Tsingtao that had recently been taken by the communist army, they had my Chinese co-pilot make the landing. Besides the hi-jackers, there were 8 other passengers. They put us up in a hotel, which they assured us was the best one in town. We were all questioned several times during the next few days, but we were never threatened or mistreated, except that they wouldn't let us leave and we didn't particularly like the food, even though it was the same stuff they ate. After 35 days we were put on a train and rode all night. After a day and a night in a small inn, we rode a truck all day, then spent that night at another village inn. The next day we rode a bicycle, a wheelbarrow, did some walking, and finally rode another truck. We arrived in Tsingtao about 10PM. It had taken about 80 hours to make 200 miles. The next day the co-pilot, radio operator and I went to Shanghai on a CNAC flight. I stayed with CNAC until they folded up in late 1949. After coming back to the US I got my ATR at a flight school in Long Beach, Cal. and was hired by THE FLYING TIGER LINE on Jan.9,1951. During the next 28 years, I was based (not in this order) at Denver, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, New York(JFK), Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Burbank and Los Angeles, and two short periods of a few weeks each at Churchill, Man. on the dew line in 1955 and 1956, and 3 months in Tokyo later in 1956. I flew the C-46, DC-4, DC-6, Connie, CL-44, and DC-8. I flew to many exotic and romantic places all over the world, and to several that were not so exotic. On April 5, 1957, I married Emily Hajduk, A Tiger stewardess. We have two children and two grandchildren. I retired on my 60th birthday, Feb. 15, 1979. After retirement, I spent 10 of the next 12 summers in Alaska. I caught a lot of fish and had a lot of fun doing it. Em and I went to our first FTLRPA reunion in 1977, two years before retirement, and have attended every one since. It is the highlight of our year, and we hope to make many more. I have had a long and rewarding life and I expect it to go on for several more years. There have been a few boring times and a few moments of terror, but most of it has been somewhere between those extremes, and it has all been interesting. I am very fortunate to have been associated with many wonderful people.
Don when he worked for CNAC
- Howe Michael
- Emp# 20119
- Hired 1/1/1966
- Vern Moldrem's Tiger Tales
- Page 460
I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and started flying in high school. I decided to try to get on with the airlines as I already had my ratings and went in the National Guard for 6 months to satisfy my military obligation. I went to LA with about a hundred bucks in my pocket and a dream to fly for the airlines. Caught a ride from Salt Lake on an Air Guard C-97 and landed at Van Nuys and just thought you could walk around LA on foot to find a job, a little naive. I was fortunate to find a flight instructors position at Progressive Flying Service at Hawthorne Calif. (Many a Tiger trained or instructed there.) In December 1965 with holes in my shoes, I remember because it was raining and my feet got wet, I flew over to the old Burbank terminal in a 150 and interviewed with Chuck Snoke and was hired to begin class in January 1966 on the Connie. I think the day I got the telegram was the happiest day of my life, and kept re-reading it as I just couldn't believe it. I flew the Connie, CL-44, B707, DC-8 and B747. Here is a link I put a few pictures on that describes one of the great adventurous type flights Tiger Pilots were always doing as described in Vern's book. Click Here
I flew until 1988, with some interruptions for some personal problems and perhaps this is what I want this article to say, I want people to know without the Tigers support I don't think I would be writing this. They saw me through the hard times and I was able to return and fly the 747 as captain, something I will always be grateful for.
I had to retire in 1988 just prior to the merger for medical reasons but remain a loyal Tiger and am building an experimental airplane, in which I hope to fly again. I have been happily married for 23 years to Jody who is an attorney here in Salt Lake, and always attends the reunions, no kids, but five cats. I presently serve as the FTL retired pilots VP of communications and webmaster.
Mike's personal photos.[envira-gallery id="10435"]
- Kahn, Ken
- Emp# 70174
- Hired 6/12/67 (SWA)
I was hired by Seaboard on 6/12/67 as a DC-8 F/O, a big jump for someone who had never flown anything larger than a Beech Baron. I got involved with ALPA and worked on the membership, negotiating, and merger committees. After the merger, I found Tigers to be a first-class operation with a lot of great guys and gals. I flew the DC-8, B-727, and B-747.I had six-months of particularly wonderful flying on the B-727. We flew a four-day trip every other week between Houston, Mexico City, Miami, and Santo Domingo. It all on the FRONT SIDE OF THE CLOCK! There were only two crews so lucky. Naturally, it was too good to last, and it was soon back to all-night hub operations. I shortly escaped to the B-747 I found the sleep disruption and deprivation caused by its schedules too grueling. After two years, I took very early retirement in 1988 just before the FedEx merger. From what I hear, I don't regret having missed it. I manage the Seaboard web site and enjoying hearing from old colleagues. I also check Mike's wonderful Tiger web site every day with great nostalgia.
- Mayfield Bill
- Emp# 20403
Currently doing volunteer working with the FTL Retired Pilots Assoc.
Before Tigers, I flew with Hawaiian Airlines, flying DC-3's (Yes, I'm that old.)
Before Hawaiian, I worked for TWA for 5 years (as a general agent), when I retired I had 39 years working for the airlines (5 carriers in all, Capitol Airways was my furlough job)
At Tiger's I flew the CL-44, B707, DC-8, B747.After Tiger's merger with FedEx, I flew, DC-10, MD-11 and the Airbus, the latter aircraft I flew while based at Subic Bay, the Philippines. I lived in the Philippines the last two and half years of my flying career. After retirement I returned to Las Vegas, NV and reside there with my wife Agnes.
(Webmasters note) Bill did not mention he worked faithfully for many years doing ALPA things and helped many people including me a long time ago,
- McComas, Don
- Emp# 17779
- Hired 12/15/63
Hired in 63 as an Ops Agent handling charters and MAC flights. Served all over but based out of Burbank. Finally went to Cold Bay to save money so I could go to flight school. Started school on Jan 1, 66 and finished Apr 11 and went to FTL with ink still wet on my final ticket. Jack Martin hired me and I started flying as Copilot in June 66. I was really lucky but found Tigers was the only airline that told all employees if you got your tickets we'll give you a try. There's about 9 or 10 that enjoyed the opportunity. From there I couldn't have had a better life if a Hollywood script writer was writing a movie. Great people, good and bad, great adventure, great life.
- LastName: Michel
- FirstName: John
- MiddleName: Howard
- DOH: August 1967
- EmpNumber: 23051
Let me tell you a little "Fate is the Hunter" story.
Back in 1966 I was twenty five and ten months into my first airline job, flying supplies into Vietnam for Slick Airways, flying the 1049H, from west coast military bases such as Norton and Travis, AFB's. Although I had been to Europe, traveling to S.E Asia and a war zone was exciting stuff.
Our flight plan itinerary was; Camhron Bay, Okinawa, Saigon. On our arrival in Okinawa, it was Christmas, I felt as though I was coming down with malaria, intense fevers/chills and the shakes, I begged off the flight and was replaced with another crew member. I reposed to my roach infested hotel room and wondered if I would see another morning.
As I awoke the next morning, to thankfully see the sun again, I was advised that my flight that night had crashed and all were lost. They experienced a mid air collision with a F-4 Phantoum at the outer marker in Saigon. They had made a good landing in a rice paddy, at night, but slid into an unseen dike...and 6000 gallons of aviation fuel ended their day.
Now thirty years later, to the day, I am in the FedEx flight operations room, Subic Bay, Phillipines. My First Officer is a retired USAF Lt. Col. We are checking weather and flight planning when I notice a fellow at another computer terminal with a name that I recognize from the distant past. We strike up a conversation and I ask him if he ever flew for X airline. He said no but I did fly for X,X, and X ailine, as we all did at some point. Then he said, "you know today, thirty years ago I was supposed to be the Navigator on a flight with X airline that crashed in Saigon. I said, my God, I did not know that you were scheduled on that same flight that I was to be on.
And here is where the story gets interesting. My First Officer, the Lt. Col.,had been listening in on our conversation. In near disbelief he said that on that night he had been returning from his first combat mission as a First Lt., flying wing on the fighter that had the mid-air with our airplane. Thankfully, his lead crew ejected successfully.
What are the odds...
What a great "life" ride. Wonderful people, I love you all for who you are. Wonderful aircraft, experiences, and a tradition of avaition family, I am truly humbled.
Capt. J. Michel
- LastName: Middel
- FirstName: Richard
- MiddleName: Alan
- Airline: Flying Tiger Line
- DOH: 04-10-67
- EmpNumber: 22594
I started working for Northeast Airlines, after the completion of my Military obligation, in 1960, worked in reservations, while getting my Aircraft Dispatchers certificate in Jamaica, New York. Moved to the West coast, and got a job with Western Airlines, in Los Angeles, as a Crew Scheduler, while getting my Pilot Licenses, Private, Instrument and Commercial.
Western let me know early on that I had no chance of becoming a pilot, as I had all of the information about the contract, by administering it for the years that I was there. I became a department of one, called the Flight Training Coordinator, and took on a lot of responsibility, for all of the proficiency checks, ground school requirements, initial upgrade training, and Simulator scheduling, which included leasing Simulator time on the 707 Simulator, the only people interested in it was Flying Tiger Line, who were taking delivery on 707's at the time.
As luck would have it, Flying Tigers, took an interest in me, as there was a shortage of pilots at the time, due to the fact that the Air Force was extending service time due to the Viet Nam War. I was hired on a Thursday, to start School on the following Monday, I was not going to pass this up, so I let Western know of my intentions, they were less than happy, however they were nice enough to tell me that I would never be a pilot for them, so we were even. Knew some real fine people at Western.
Spent the rest of my career with Flying Tigers, had some real great times there.
Now retired, spend my time playing golf, at home (Incline Village, Nevada) during the summer, and in Timaru, New Zealand, during their summer.
- Rossi Dick
- Emp# 3831
- Hired 5/17/1950
Vern Moldrem's Tiger Tales, Page 2,6,12,17,18,66,87,88,89,143,145,166,196,197,250,461
View FTLPA reunion 2002 album below:[envira-album id="3799"]
- Sanders, Don
- Hired 7/25/50
- Vern Moldrem's Tiger Tales, Page 65, 68, 124,135,261,279,462
Always wanted to fly-better than hoeing weeds on a KS farm. I started college, went in service in 1940 (Infantry), Flight training in 1942and to India/china in Dec. 1942.Two tours over the "Hump" on C-47, C-46 & C-87's In air force till 7-1-48 when I went to work for TWA-furloughed, spent one year flying Capt. for Saudi-Arabian Airline-back to US and onto Tigers for next 31 & half years. A great move. flew the C-46, DC-4, DC-6, Connie, CL-44, B707, DC-8 and finished on the B747. A great time, great friends, spent 14 years as Domicile Chief Pilot in SLC, Chicago, DTW, & SFO. I have enjoyed retirement since Oct. 1981, Barbara & I have done a lot of traveling over the years, raised 3 sons. One of the big pleasures is going to the annual FTL reunions to see & visit with great friends. A fine career and I'm glad to have been part of it all! As the saying goes "I was too lazy to work & too nervous to steal" so it all turned out great!
View Reunion 2002 Album[envira-album id="3799"]
- LastName: Scanlan
- FirstName: Michael
- MiddleName: Donald
- DOH: 04/15/1982
I was hired into Flying Tigers by Jim Haggerty as a District Sales Manager in LAX.
I just got done with my interview and went back to resign from my position with a freight forwarder and they told me " Don't go to Tigers.... they are going bankrupt !!"
I called Jim and relayed the comments from the freight forwarder and he told me " Mike .... everyone says that we have been going out of business for the last 20 years ...if you want to have some fun and join a great group of people than, Flying Tigers is your home !!"
Well, Jim's comments led me to the Tiger family and life long friendships that i will always cherish.
I have reported to Jim in a variety of sales positions for the last 25 years/ including our new home in FEDEX.
There are a lot of Tigers on the 2nd/3rd floors at 101 North Sepulveda in El Segundo, Calif.
Pls keep us updated on any news.
Thanks and warm regards,
- Scott, Tom
- Emp # 19667
- DOH September 13, 1965
I was born and raised in San Diego, California. That is where I attended both grade school and college. I started taking flying lessons in High School and always found there was something new to learn. I received my Commercial and Instrument rating at Progressive Air Service, Inc. in Hawthorne, CA (Hail to Barney South). I served in the United States Coast Guard for 5 years in the early 1960's and have been in love with the sea ever since. I am a California State Licensed Contractor and have had several business operations outside of the airline industry. I worked for Pacific Telephone in Los Angeses and San Diego for several years, Flying Tigers for 24 years and FedEx for 10 years. I flew the following aircraft with Flying Tigers:
- L 1049-H "Connie"
I flew the following aircraft with FedEx:
I flew as a Flight Engineer, First-Officer and Captain. Held the positions of Second Officer Instructor, Instructor Pilot and Check Pilot at Tigers. I was also Captain Representative and Council Chairman for ALPA Council 100 in Anchorage. I also served as Captain Domicile Representative for the Fedex Pilots Association (FPA) in Anchorage. I can tell you now, in retrospect, that my career with Flying Tigers was a wonderful adventure filled with wonderful folks. I will always remember my days at Tigers with great fondness. My days with FedEx were also filled with many wonderful people and I found the management at FedEx to be enlightening. I retired early in July of 1999. I am enjoying my retirement in Alaska and filling my days with long postponed projects and personal interests. My hobbies? Photography (Basement Darkroom), Fishing and My Boys. That's enough about Me....... What about you? Thanks and may God Bless you all.
- Shadowens, Lamont "Shad"
- Hired 4/29/53
- Vern Moldrem's Tiger Tales. Page 114,115,304,417,439
Born, raised and a little educated in Southern Illinois, called “Little Egypt”, about half way between the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers at Cairo, named after the original Cairo of Egypt. A small town boy of a coal mining family caught up as a teenager in the great war and sent to “tough”!! duty to spend the war years in Hawaii in a then secret laboratory “Project X” (Project “Y” was the Norden bombsight lab) maintaining airborne Radar for which I had become a candidate as a result of my then small background in the study of electronics. Mistake to have told the recruiter this as I applied for aviation cadets but was termed too valuable to the war effort to be released. Missed my dream. Always wanted to fly, so when flight training became available again I started with the Hawaiian School of Aeronautics, through all the ratings, became flight and link instructor and was one of 2 pilots recruited by Hawaiian Airlines in 3-1952.
After one year took leave of absence and to broaden horizon went to Chicago and applied with 3 or 4 carriers. Received telegram offers from Eastern, TWA and Flying Tigers on the same day. Chose Tigers on 4-29-53 excited by world wide flying, and the projected growth of Air Freight. Endured several furloughs during years of Tigers’ struggling growth and stuck it out for a fine career. Feel lucky to have experienced the great growth of aviation through the piston/propeller, turbo prop, to turbo jet age in the DC3, C46, DC4, DC6, Constellation, Canadair CL-44, B707,. DC-8 and B747. As Check pilot and while flying a Tigers’ Officer desk for a couple years, to pursue another dream, began the study of law a little late in life, but missed the yoke, rudder and throttle to return to the line for my 3 final years and the camaraderie of Tigers. Great airline, Great group of associates in the air and on the ground. GO TIGERS will ever resound.
email firstname.lastname@example.org for Tiger messages; email@example.com IF SENDING JOKES, please; Now practicing Estate Planning law in California and planning another law specialty: email firstname.lastname@example.org; and as (Past President and current VP Membership of the national Retired Airline Pilots Association RAPA). Now what is this condition called retirement??
- LastName: Tatro (Langenberg)
- FirstName: Mary
- MiddleName: Lou
- DOH: April,1955
I came with another nurse (just as company) when Eve Mattot interviewed her, she asked me why I didn't apply, and didn’t I want to go to Tokyo?? Well duh, of course, so I agreed for 2 trips to Tokyo. When I returned she said did I want to see Europe, 5 yrs. and many wonderful, scary, trips later I still loved it, I still remember those years fondly. I flew as Stewardess on DC4s and DC6s, and then back to domestic on C46s. loved the looks of the "Connies" but when the flight crew put it on autopilot the rear end (where the galley was) fishtailed through the hours. I flew out of Linst, Austria with a plane load of Hungarian refugees headed for New Zealand, they removed the galley and added 5-6 added rows in back, made landings tricky, had to get all those back rows to jump up and run forward in the cabin as soon as we hit the ground to keep the nose wheel on the ground till we were stopped, made for an interesting flight, with several landing enroute. Good thing they were all young and agile.
- Thompson Mary Lee(now Rodenbaugh)
- Hired 1952
At the age of 16,having saved my $1.00 a week allowance for 6 months with the goal of paying for a 15 minute airplane ride. That did it. "I was hooked". Setting another goal I learned to fly, and at 19 I had my pilots license. But not without a few scary moments, as I look back. Of course at that age we are all brave, and fearless ( since we don't know any better), we all expect to live forever.
My first plane was a "PT 19". That was a low wing, open, duel cockpit, with an inline ranger engine and fixed pitch prop, made by Fairchild, used as a Primary Trainer. My next plane was a Vultee BT-13 (Basic Trainer) with a radial engine and fixed pitch prop.
My love of flying took me to the airport every day, to stand and watch the Airliners Take Off and Land. My goal in life was to see the world that I had studied as a student archeologist, especially the pyramids in Egypt, and the exotic Islands of Polynesia. My husband agrees that I could write my entire biography in only 5 words. BEEN EVERYWHERE, DONE EVERYTHING, TWICE Some things however, are more interesting with a bit more detail.
My application to Western Airlines in Los Angeles, for a job as stewardess at age 19, was, of course, refused and I was told to come back when I was 21. That I did, and went to work for "The Flying Tiger Line", with the help of my Flight Instructor, and close friend, C.MONTE TREFT who was a Captain with the "Tigers" at that time. I had applied also to Slick Airways, but secured the Tiger job first. Of course they ask for experience, and I chanced that they might not check, so, I told them I had been with a major air line. "TWA" for one year. I got away with it, and they scheduled me out on a flight from Burbank, Ca. to Denver, Co. that same After I figured out where to get aboard the plane, I spent time locating every thing, and becoming familiar with a C-46. The crew members including Monte Treft, as Captain, were aware of my inexperience, and helped me. They said the most important duty I would have was to make coffee and see that the crew never ran out. They might worry about running out of out of gas, but I need only worry about running coffee. The Tigers, a cargo line, had a lot of what was called MAT'S contracts (Military Air Transport) at that time, and needed flight attendants, because a large portion of flights were overseas. Just my " cup 'o COFFEE "
I really lucked out. Since many flights were to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, and the Flughafen, in Frankfurt Germany, I was required to get a passport and an arm full of immunization shots. Mary Lee Walker Thompson, First Passport Picture 1952. By the time I returned to Burbank, Ca., our home base, I was well experienced. I kept a log of all my trips with the airlines.
Some of the more interesting incidents follow. On a flight from NYC to Washington DC, we were caught in a Developing Thunderstorm, and the last transmission we heard was before our antennas were knocked out by lightning was " there were 18 aircraft in the area without radio contact". WOW Then there was a brief break in the clouds and, the pilots told me the were over water. We figured we had been blown off course toward the Atlantic Ocean. During the next couple of hours we were buffeted by wind, hail, and lightning like I've not seen since. I had all my passengers tightly belted in their seats, and belted myself in a rear aisle seat. It was then that for some reason (I assume lightning) about a 12" hole appeared in the side of the plane where I was sitting. No one ever got out of a seat belt faster than I did, and pushed myself first off the floor then the ceiling during a siege of violent turbulence, in order to get to the cockpit and tell the flight crew they had a hole in their airplane. Their only instructions to me were, "repeat after me" OUR FATHER
They said we had only a few minutes of gas left and that we were going to go down, and for all we knew, we were still over water. SANS DITCHING EQUIPMENT. Now, I shall reveal something that you will no more believe than I would have, had some one told me." WHEN DEATH IS EMINENT, THERE IS NO FEAR" just a feeling, of no worry or concern, and no fear whatsoever. This only happens if you are CERTAIN there is no chance of living past a few minutes. It happened to me twice during the 17 years of flying internationally. While I was still hanging on to everything I could reach in the cockpit, when we saw a break in the clouds, and a runway with it's lights on. The pilot did a fast Shaundell, and got to the approach for the runway. As our landing gear touched the ground, our #2 engine quit, and during our roll the # 1 engine quit. We had no power to taxi to the terminal, but who cared. We were down. All thirty three troops and the crew were alive. When we finally got of the plane, we could not conceive of the damage that plane had sustained and still flew. No wonder they were used over the hump in WW11 OUR FATHER must have had something to do with it. When we got to the hotel in Columbus, Ga. (That's right) we all met in the dining room for dinner, . We were all so calm and efficient during the time of crisis, and noticed we were all visibly shaking during dinner. This entire crew vowed then and there never to fly again.
The next morning the Company called and said we were to FLY to Newark, NJ. Well, we all did, and took another flight out of there with different crew members. When we met back in Burbank, Ca. we said to each other, " I thought you gave up flying " Well, YEH .......... Seems