By 1935, Hawaii’s economy had improved, and Inter-Island Airways had secured a contract to carry air mail. These two events brought profits to the young airline, and the company responded by purchasing a newer, larger aircraft, the S-43 Sikorsky, a plane that carried twice the number of passengers as the S-38 and cruised half again as fast. Only problem? The S-43’s powerful engines produced a pronounced tendency to turn the plane left on takeoff. It was a young pilot named Jim Hogg who figured out how to finesse the throttles and stabilize the plane. Hogg had grown up on Kaua‘i and first tasted flight in the years immediately following World War I when he was taken into the sky by Charlie Fern, one of the territory’s two barnstormers. He slaved in a garage to earn money for flying lessons, then obtained his mechanic’s credentials in Oakland. Captain Sam hired Hogg first as a mechanic and later as a mate—a combination mechanic, copilot and jack-of-all-trades. When a mate flew, his duties included loading and unloading baggage and going back into the cabin between flights to clean up. His efforts earned him the copilot’s seat in a Sikorsky and a paycheck of $125 a month.
(Hawaiian Airlines Archives)
In later years, Hogg helped to test a newly installed navigation station on Maui. In return, the FAA offered to name the station after him. The name could only contain three letters, the FAA said; did Hogg want it to be HOG or OGG? Jim, of course, chose the latter. The OGG initials eventually came to signify Maui’s airport, and to this day, perplexed Maui-bound travelers wonder where in the world OGG is and why their bags are going there.
In 1941, the airline introduced the Douglas DC-3. Each aircraft carried the company’s new name on its fuselage: Hawaiian Airlines. The DC-3s and the Sikorskys came under attack on December 7, but survived to provide the territory’s only inter-island transportation during the war years. During those years, the military called up a good number of the airline’s pilots, many of whom had trained in the military and were still reservists. One of those pilots was Budd Murray. After Murray was called to Pearl Harbor for a meeting with the Navy brass, Elliott inquired about his status.
"The admiral told me I was going to be recalled shortly," Budd told Elliott, "and my response was ‘Oh, horse manure’—but when it came out of my mouth, it sounded more like ‘Aye, aye sir.’" Like Elliott, Murray loved to fly from the water. During the war, he flew four-engine sea planes all over the Pacific, as far east as Manila and as far south as Auckland. By the end of the war, he had achieved the respected position of command pilot on the Navy’s mighty Martin Mars flying boats. But when the war ended, he was back at Hawaiian, and he continued to fly for the airline until 1969. Often he flew as a copilot with Captain Gilbert Tefft.