Board of Directors


John Burke

John Burke

John was born into an airline family with family members working for many years with Mohawk and Eastern Airlines. From an early age, the “Airline” business was in his blood. After graduating from the University of Miami with a BBA majoring in Transportation Management John was fortunate enough to be hired by Flying Tigers in 1978 as a Ramp Supervisor at JFK. During John’s tenure there, he progressed to Chief Operations Supervisor and his last position at JFK was Manager Import Services.

Then …John’s dream job…He transferred to LAX as an OpsCon Duty Manager. Two great mentors helped him achieve this position (thanks to I.J. and G.V.W). And then came 1989, when John’s position was moved to Memphis, TN with FedEx where he worked in Global Operations Control until 1998. John then moved to Charter Operations and continued to work there until 2004 when he was fortunate enough to return to LAX with FedEx AOG. This was a major career change but well worth being able to come “Back West”.

John has been with AOG from 2004 to 2019 and has enjoyed the challenge.  In 2019 he made the plunge into retirement and never looked back!

It has been a privilege to serve on this Board since January 2006.

Vice President & Communications

Helena Burke

Helena Burke

Helena’s career path took her quite by accident into the aviation industry when she accepted a part-time job at Flying Tigers at LAX in 1980 at Hi-Tiger.

After many wonderful opportunities to travel with FTL, interline parties and making lifelong friends, she ended up on the Third Floor in Operations Control where she met her husband, John, and developed an interest in all things aviation. After the FTL/FDX merger in 1989, Helena and John spent 13 years in Memphis and finally made their way back to Los Angeles in 2002 working at the old Flying Tiger hangar, now part of FedEx. It is rather serendipitous that Helena ended up at Flying Tigers as her father came to the USA in 1956 on a Flying Tiger DC4 refugee mission from Eastern Europe.

Helena has two degrees in aviation (BS and MAS) earned from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and considers herself something of a perpetual student. Helena was born and raised in Los Angeles with Croatian roots and loves to travel to Croatia any chance she gets to visit with family.


Margi Falk

MArgi FalkMargi has been a Member of the Flying Tigers Club Board of Directors, and served as Club Secretary since May 2007. During her position on the Board she was editor of the Newsletter from May 2007 through March 2014; as well as coordinating the 500 Club Board in the Flying Tigers room at Flight Path Museum and Learning Center.

She started working at Flying Tigers in 1973 as a swing shift file clerk and part-time Hi-Tiger receptionist. She held positions in the Finance Department before moving on to Public Relations and Advertising with Nissan Davis at the helm where she was editorial assistant to Colleen Ferguson on the TigeReview, and advertising coordination under Carol Svensson.

She left Flying Tigers in 1985 to expand her experience in marketing and small business development. In 1990, she joined Airborne Express at LAX as a customer service/operations agent DHL, retiring in 2009 from DHL following a corporate merger.


Gary Molinari

Gary Molinari

Gary M. Molinari began his career with Flying Tigers in May of 1972. His first position with FTL was as an Internal Auditor where he performed both financial and operational audits, this experience will lend itself to the Treasurer position as solid background for creative bookkeeping and sound embezzlement techniques.

Gary’s next assignment was as Manager of Credit and Collections where he was responsible to collect on all of FTL’s outstanding accounts receivable, utilizing those same strong-armed tactics gained in this job will help to ensure all Tiger Retirement Club dues are paid on time. He then moved on to a P&L position in the Charter Department and at the time of the FedEx merger was General Manager of Contract Programs with operational and Profit and Loss responsibility for the commercial and military cargo and passenger charter business.

Gary and his family relocated to Memphis in 1989 and continued with FedEx as the Managing Director of Charters until his retirement in June of 2008 and returning to the Los Angeles area.

Membership Director

Doug Shaw

Doug had just graduated from high school and was attending his first semester at San Mateo Junior College when a friend informed him that an airline called “Flying Tigers” was hiring cargo handlers at SFO so he decided to apply, a decision that, like many other “Tigers” had a major impact on his life.  He started working for Flying Tigers in 1956 in SFO, having been hired by Paul Stokes, as a part time cargo handler working weekends.  In 1957 he was offered a full-time position as an Assistant Agent until 1959 when he resigned from Tigers.

Doug took a job as an animal handler for Asiatic Animal Imports, a company that imported monkeys used in the manufacture of the Salk polio vaccine and then moved on to American Express as a Foreign Freight Agent, working both San Francisco wharves clearing customs for freight arriving by ship and at SFO airport doing export air freight.

In October 1961 Doug returned to Tigers as a supervisor in the Contract Operations (CONOPS) department at SFO, providing ground operations support and communications of all flights operating the Pacific in support of the military contract to move cargo and troops to Vietnam in addition to any commercial passenger and cargo charters and by 1965 Doug became the Supervisor of Catering with primary responsibility supporting the military contract and, later, for all international flights.

Doug was transferred to OKO (1970-1975) as Station Manager with the responsibility of providing operational support for all Flying Tiger contract military and commercial charter flights in Southeast Asia (except Viet Nam) and the ground service support to customer airlines transiting OKO in support of military contracts.

In January 1975 Doug was transferred to ANC to be Station Manager.   At the time, Flying Tigers did not have commercial traffic rights, so ANC served as a fuel and crew change stop for all flights to and from Asia.  However, Tigers was permitted by U.S. Customs to transfer cargo between flights. Doug also had the additional responsibility for the hotel, bar and restaurant operations at CDB (Cold Bay, Alaska) a community of 250 residents and in 1979 Doug was promoted to General Manager-Alaska with sales, marketing and operations for Anchorage.

With the FedEx merger in 1989, Doug became the Senior Manager for Hub Operations and then Senior Manager Gateway Clearance Operations at the new FedEx sort facility.  Denny Bird had recently transferred from LAX to become Director of Alaska Operations, but has since retired to Homer, Alaska.

Doug retired from FedEx in May 2000.  He and his wife Bonnie moved to a home in Pahrump, Nevada where they stayed for sixteen years.  They are currently living in a senior community in Davis, California.  Bonnie and Doug both cherish their “Tiger” life and the opportunities it provided.  The “Can Do Spirit” was more than just a motto!  It was and remains, visible throughout the Tiger family.

Activities Director

Hedy Pacheco

Hedy Pacheco started her career with The Flying Tiger Line in October 1979.  She accepted a position in Financial Accounting as an accounting clerk located on the second floor of Lo-Tiger.  She worked her way to Sr Accountant responsible for the accounting of Fixed Assets, Aircraft Inventory, and other various financial functions over the course of nearly 10 years.  At the time of the merger in August of 1989, she was offered a position at the LAX hangar as an Aircraft Inventory Analyst with FedEx because of her extensive knowledge of aircraft inventory.  She remained in this position until her retirement in December 2016.

Hedy lives locally keeping near to her roots in Los Angeles and close to her family. She enjoys working with her hands and spending time her grandchildren.  She has a love for cooking which is matched only with her love for eating.  She is always willing to try new treats and tastes. When she is not in the kitchen, you can often find her knitting or crocheting, creating stain glass pieces in her garage or cultivating her small garden of plumerias. Hedy is always happy to have friends over to her home for a competitive game of cards or just to sit and talk in her yard in the So Cal sunshine.

Merchandise Director

Charlie Calleja

Charles Calleja

Charles Calleja started his career at Flying Tigers in November 1970 as a part time cargo handler at the Los Angeles freight terminal. He spent 19 years and worked his way up to a lead position at LAX. Prior to joining FTL, Charlie spent 4 years in the US Navy as an Aircraft Mechanic and in 1985 accepted a position as a mechanic at the LAX Hangar. Charlie became part of FedEx in 1989 and is still on the job as a mechanic.

Charlie joined the Flying Tiger Club Board in 2010 as the Merchandise Director.

Chairman Emeritus

Polly Price

Polly Price joined the Flying Tiger family as an occupational health nurse at the LAX maintenance facility in June, 1971. She remained in that position when the merger with Fed Ex occurred, taking on the additional duties of Safety Specialist, until the nursing position was eliminated at which time she became a full time Safety Specialist.

Since her retirement in September 2003, she has kept busy with various volunteer activities. She has always been an active member of her church and the United Methodist Women. She is the secretary on the board of directors of a local food pantry (CASE) and also the coordinator of a program (TOTS) that gives mothers a morning off by providing care for their young children one day a week.

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