Pilot Employment, 1947

by Capt. Temple Robinson

We were the lucky few in the aviation industry when we came to Seaboard and Western. A lot of us knew each other from the military service. This made it a familiar atmosphere to all. In later years, when people asked how I came to Seaboard, I told them I was hired by telegram.

The story: I worked for Western Airlines for about a year. After eight months, I was furloughed but hired back as a passenger agent. While working as a passenger agent, I encountered Roy Benson who was on his way home after a trip with Flying Tigers. I gave him my home number and address. I left Western in April of 1947 and worked as a linoleum installer for the summer. In September, I got a call from Roy Benson in New York. He was at MacArthur Airport, leaving on his first trip with Seaboard. He asked if I was interested in a job. I asked for whom would I be working and he replied, "Seaboard & Western." My immediate reaction was, "Who is Seaboard & Western?" He said it was a cargo startup and had a good future. Carl Brell came on the phone. He told me that they had a flat-salary arrangement and asked me if I was interested. I said I would talk it over with my wife and let him know. He gave me a phone number to call. I convinced my wife that I should go back to flying. I called the number the next day and received a telegram, signed by Bob Warner, Chief Pilot, directing me to report to 16 Liberty Street, NYC.

I did go and reported for work on October 2, 1947. I moved in with Roy Benson and Bill Carr in a boarding house in Huntington. Maurice Murray called me and said I was scheduled for a trip out of LaGuardia on the next day. He said he lived in Syosset and would pick me up. We got to LaGuardia and I was introduced to Paul Mlinar. I got off to a great start by asking Paul if he was the flight engineer. He straightened me out in a hurry. He was the captain and I was going to be checked on by him. Great way to start a career. We made the trip to Amsterdam and back.

Side note: We loaded the aircraft at LaGuardia parked on the grass in front of the Marine Air Terminal. The only aircraft Seaboard had was NC58008, a C-54 (DC-4). It made us feel real great the day we called in using "N008" and LaGuardia tower came back with "Seaboard, you are cleared to land." Pan American at the time thought we were an interloper.

Originally published in SPAR newsletter, September, 1996


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