Others Have Experienced Flying Tiger #923

Other readers who were not directly involved in the fatal crash of September 23, have experienced Flying Tiger Lines. All of them, of course, had the experience of flying and landing safely**.

Following are reports of flights on the same aircraft over basically the same route. These are stories told by real life passengers in their own words:

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From Jan Bonner…

It was September of 1962. I was 9 years old. My father was in the USAF. We started our trip at McGuire AFB and landed at Prestwick, Scotland, to begin my father’s three-year assignment at Kirknewton AFB. I remember, even at that early age, how unusual our plane looked, with its big three piece tail, and how scared I was to first board it at McGuire and how relieved I was to get off of that plane in Scotland.

It was the Flying Tiger 923! How close we came to being part of a disastrous event. My heart goes out to everyone aboard that ill-fated flight. Today is the first time I have read about what actually happened those many years ago. I hope you have had a good life sir. Bless you always.

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From Rena Shepherd, 11/24/16…

I was on Flying Tiger 923 also, in 1962, but my story is different. Coming from Germany, getting on in Frankfurt, my husband and I and our then one-year-old-baby-girl were traveling together. We got into a very bad storm over the ocean and the plane was bouncing, going up and down and made me terribly airsick. We had to emergency land at Gander in Newfoundland, where we were told there was a problem with the plane. We were given blankets to keep warm while we waited for them to repair whatever it was. Several hours later we took off again en route to McGuire Air Force Base.

I looked down into the turbulent, ice-cold water and prayed to please let us make it to my new home in America. We made it by hook or by crook. It was the worst flight I have ever been on. Still airsick when we got off the plane, we made our way to the Greyhound Bus to take us to West Virginia where my husband was from and to meet his family. In the excitement of the horrible flight, I left a suitcase sitting behind. It eventually caught up with me.

Soon after arriving in Logan, West Virginia, while sitting in front of the TV, we heard an announcer saying that the Flying Tiger 923 that had just arrived from Germany was on its return trip to Germany and had crashed into the ocean. Chills went up & down my spine (that was the one you were on as a young Private.)

Well you know the rest of the story. I wished I knew the name of the nice lady across from me. She came over and hugged and comforted me and joked about my sickness. She said, “That’s why they have these paper bags here.” God bless her.

The year 1962 was when I started my new life in this country. I became a U.S. Citizen and always try to contribute in every way I can to repay what I have gotten from this country. I can’t help but think that I could have been on the bottom of the ocean. It was so long ago Fred, I know, but it never will be forgotten.

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A young fellow flew to Europe with his family on a Flying Tiger Super Constellation chartered by the Military Air Transport System (MATS).  He is certain is was the very same plane featured in this site, Flying Tiger #923.  Here is his story:

From Paul Feldman, posted  July 18, 2013

I was 5 years old flying from McGuire to Paris in 1962 on this very plane. My father was a sergeant in the Air Force, being transferred to Chalmount AFB. I remember several things about the flight.

  1. We stopped in Newfoundland and then made another stop in the Azores.
  2. I remember seeing the exhaust flaming all night. I had a window seat.
  3. When we were approaching Paris, the left #2 engine was shut down. I distinctly remember me and my brothers saying something to my father. To assure us, he told us something which was not true. He said “the pilot always shuts down engines when landing.”
  4. I remember my father telling us a short time later the plane crashed on a similar trip.

Luckily, when we returned to McGuire in 1966 we were on a Pan Am 707.

Just thought I would share this.

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Below, a photo of the real Flying Tiger#923, courtesy of a Swedish friend, Ragnor Domstead, who was an engineering student at the time and was responsible for chartering the aircraft for a trip he took with his engineering class in June 1961.

N6923C Gothenburg, Sweden

Super Constellation #N6923C – Photo by Ragnor Domstad, June 1961, on the tarmac of Gothenburg (Sweden) Torslanda airport.Comments by Ragnar Domstad, July 18, 2012

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Comments by Ragnar Domstad, posted July 18, 2012

I am the photographer of the N6923C, Flying Tiger 923, that you see here. As Peter Frey (a freelance journalist) mentioned, I don´t claim any copyright, but I ask to be mentioned as photographer.

It is a strange feeling to know that “our” Super Connie ditched a year later. After refueling at Shannon, Ireland, we continued our 1962 journey, but had to land at Gander, Newfoundland to wait out the weather. The whole Eastern seaboard was closed due to fog. Somewhat delayed, we arrived at Idlewild.

As our study tour was a success, I was asked to arrange some more tours the following years. We had another Super Connie chartered in 1962 and a year later also. When I first heard of the Flying Tiger Line, it was in a small notice in a newspaper. It said that the Flying Tiger Line was open to passengers from the US to Europe in the beginning of the summer and vice versa at the end of the summer. They also offered cheap charter flights from Europe in the beginning of the summer and back at the end of the summer to fill otherwise empty planes.

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**(Foot note: The number “923” does not identify the flight route. The number “923” designates the last three digits of the aircraft’s registration number as it comes off the assembly line. This is why someone could say they flew Flying Tiger 923 in a totally different part of the world. The fact that it flew (and crashed) on September 23 (or 9/23) was simply a coincidence.  

Please visit  “Unlucky Year for Flying Tigers”    for more detail on aircraft identification.

Also, regarding Flight 923 survivor Art Gilbreth’s suggestion to avoid any flight with a flight number matching the day’s date may well be worth keeping in mind. In his words, “I’m sure everyone noticed, but just incase you didn’t, Flight # 923 took off on Sept (9) 23! I don’t even get close to a plane that has the same flight number as the date.”

See his story on this site. And while studying the numerical identification of aircraft, take note of the origin and purpose of this reference.)

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About Fred Caruso

Survivor of the crash of Flying Tiger 923. at night, at sea, 500 miles off the west coast of Ireland, with 28 deaths and 48 survivors, September 23, 1962.
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One Response to Others Have Experienced Flying Tiger #923

  1. Eric Lindner says:

    Another great post, Fred!
    Flight 923 is like a Russian nesting doll, with so many great stories on top of stories.

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