Thank You For Visiting Sedona Legend-
The Jack And Helen Frye Story!
Sedona's Celebrity Love Story!
This is the official, not to mention only, web portal in the world
dedicated exclusively to the legacy of Jack and Helen Frye!
The Frye Legacy-
a Lifetime of Accomplishment!
By Randall Reynolds
The Sedona Legend Web Site is a copyrighted historical photo enhanced narrative presented for
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Sedona Legend was envisioned and created to provide Red Rock State Park visitors a
comprehensive historic overview for Jack and Helen Frye and their Deer-Lick and Smoke Trail
Ranches. This effort is now officially cited by R.R.S.P. as an indepth historical venue
representing Jack and Helen Frye.
Sedona Legend is encouraged by the many friends of Jack and Helen Frye. A gracious thank
you to the Frye and Varner families for invaluable support and Red Rock State Park staff and
volunteers for their enthusiasm.
Sedona Legend Helen Frye a.k.a. the Jack and Helen Frye Story
A Decade of Research and Presentation- Created By Randall D. Reynolds
Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved
Standard Air Lines
"The Fair Weather Route" 1926 to 1930
Jack Frye, as president of both Aero Corporation of California
and Standard Air Lines, establishes the very 1st scheduled airline
passenger service- Los Angeles-Phoenix-Tucson (later El Paso)
Co-founders of Aero Corporation & Standard Air Lines-
Paul E. Richter Jr. & Walter A. Hamilton
Arizona's Very 'FIRST' Commercial Air Line Service-
Keystone of Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc. TWA
Tucson Arizona- A very special celebration- November 28,
1964. The beautiful commemorative plaque (left) displayed
at the Tucson International Airport pays tribute to Standard
Air Lines. It was mounted on the 37th anniversary of
Tucson's very first commercial air service "Standard Air
Lines". Standard was launched by Jack Frye who was
incidentally the pilot that day as well. In 1929 (reflective of
the Great Depression mergers of the late 1920's) Standard
was bought out by Western Air Express (W.A.E.). In 1930,
W.A.E. became the "Western" in Transcontinental and
Western Air, Inc. or as we know it T.W.A. It was in this
complicated redistribution of assets and routes that
American Airlines acquired some of the operations of
Standard Air Lines. Interestingly Standard was one of the
few airlines which (it is said) did not experience financial
setbacks at the end of the 1920's.
Aero Corporation of California & Standard Air Lines Milestones
November 28 & 29 1927- Aero Corporation of California (Standard Air Lines)
establishes first round-trip scheduled passenger air service between
Los Angeles-Phoenix-Tucson (with president Jack Frye as first pilot).
February 4, 1929- Standard Air Lines (passenger subsidiary of Aero) launches "First" U. S.
Coast-to-Coast Transcontinental plane-train passenger service from Los Angeles-El Paso-St.
Louis-New York (new stops of Douglas and El Paso added). Please note- contrary to what has
been at times advertised in vintage publicity, Transcontinental Air Transport, T.A.T. (The
Lindbergh Line) was not the first to provide cross-country air service on July 7 and 8, 1929!
This is misleading publicity of the day and 'oft repeated.
August 4, 1929- Standard Air Lines, Inc. launches luxury Fokker tri-motored air passenger
service. Jack Frye again, as president-pilot of Standard, flew the first load of passengers from
California to Arizona on this commemorative occasion.
Tucson Arizona and Jack Frye
Notation- Standard Air Lines is often spelled in error as Standard "Airlines".
Passenger loading to take place at Aero Corporation Field
99th and Western Avenue, (later at 94th) Los Angeles, California. (Jack and brother Don Frye
both show their business address' as 10401 South Western Avenue- Off 104th- in 1927)
L.A. to Tucson- Monday, Wednesday, Friday, @ 10:00 A.M.
Return flights from Tucson- Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday @ 8:00 A.M.
(20 minute stopover in Phoenix both directions)
Original Scheduled Pilots:
Jack Frye, Paul Richter, and Lee Willey
Typically flight times will be:
Leave Los Angeles 10:00 A.M.
Arrive Phoenix 3:20 P.M.
Arrive Tucson 5:00 P.M.
(Initial flights to and from (Phoenix) were 3 hrs. 50 minutes (outbound) and 3 hrs. 57 minutes
(inbound). One news article notates that Pilot Frye made the trip with passengers on December
19th 1927, in 3 hrs. and 5 minutes.)
Los Angeles to Tucson (via Phoenix) $60.00
Los Angeles to Phoenix $47.50
Phoenix to Tucson $12.50
Express (freight) per pound:
$1.60 (Los Angeles to Tucson)
$1.30 (Los Angeles to Phoenix)
$ .30 (Phoenix to Tucson)
(April 1928- Standard increases passenger loads 300% after reducing tickets to rail fare cost.)
This page is about beginnings and the making of airline history as associated with Arizona and
California. It chronicles the accomplishments of a small airline run by remarkable young man
of only 23, a man who was inspired by a dream, a driving force which changed the future of
modern passenger air service. This first airline was Aero (Standard Air Lines). The man who
was responsible for and a participant in the first transcontinental air service and (later with
TWA) the first transatlantic passenger service and trans-world passenger service became one of
aviation’s most recognized and respected visionary entrepreneurs. His name was Jack Frye.
Notation on Pilot Jack Frye’s command of passenger-filled airliners. Frye was so punctual on his
flights that in the early days he was referred to as “on-the-dot Frye”. People across the
southwest would 'set their clocks to the minute' as Frye flew over each day (L.A. to Tucson
route). Whenever any of his pilots (with any of Frye’s airlines) complained they could not meet
their schedules, Frye would respond by showing up at any given airport unannounced, relieve
the pilot and take over the flight with passengers. He would fly the schedule to the minute, thus
proving his point! The success of early airline service was all about delivering passengers and
freight according to strict schedules. Any pilot who couldn’t or wouldn’t adhere to this critical
requirement by Frye was promptly sacked. If you worked for Frye, you were the best, if you
weren’t you worked for another airline or not at all. Frye was a consummate pilot, with as much
or more experience than any of the men who flew for him, he knew planes and he knew the
traveling public, this is what made him a successful airline mogul.
August 10, 1927
Record Claimed By Aero Corporation of California, Inc.
The first transcontinental flight with paying passengers was achieved by prominent Pacific
Coast flier Jack Frye. This flight, largely missed in today’s history books, was significant
nevertheless and dully noted at the time. On August 4, 1927, President and Chief Pilot of Aero
Corporation, Jack Frye, left New York City (airfield unknown) with 2 fare-paying passengers.
All passengers (2) and pilot (1) continued through to Los Angeles California. The flight was
never intended to be a record breaking speed flight instead Jack was demonstrating a novel new
concept to the country; safe and efficient flights from coast-to-coast. Noted stops were made at
Washington D.C., Dayton Ohio, St Louis Missouri, Muskokee Oklahoma, Fort Worth Texas,
and El Paso. (Likely there were stops in Tucson and Phoenix as well.) At the time, Jack and his
partner Paul Richter, were ferrying new planes from the Fokker factory in New York (N.J.) and
(later) from Wheeling, West Virginia to Los Angeles for the new Standard Air Lines service
routes. This trip was likely associated with one of these ferry trips. The plane was a new Fokker
Universal single engine passenger transport. Passenger names were Harry J. Tucker of New
York City and B. E. Devere of Los Angeles. Frye, often referred to as Lieutenant Frye (likely
from his Army Corp of Engineers enlistment) landed in Los Angeles, deplaned the passengers,
and immediately took off again with a plane full of reporters for a flight over L.A. Frye stated
to the press that the plane would be entered into service on the proposed Standard Air Lines--
Los Angeles to Fort Worth route, tentatively set for the middle of September.
September 8, 1927
Don Lee Cadillac LaSalle Celebration
California’s Official West Coast Distributor
Little known aerial feat performed by the Jack Frye
In an unprecedented display of pyrotechnics over downtown Los Angeles, Jack Frye performs
aerial aerobatics to welcome the 1927 Cadillac models. The beautiful new motorcar available in
26 variations was part of the “Cadillac-LaSalle Style Salon of Southern California” which ran
from September 8, 1927 for 10 days with a daily schedule of exciting events. These were some of
the most beautiful automobiles of the day.
On the evening of September 8, 1927 in a extravaganza not unlike the premier of Howard
Hughes’ Hell’s Angels at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood (1930), Jack Frye
entertained throngs of spectators gathered to celebrate at Don Lee Cadillac at 7th and Bixel in
Los Angeles. Lee was the state’s largest Cadillac-LaSalle dealer but his fame may very well
have been in supplying Hollywood celebrities with the posh luxury-mobiles as the nationally
famous “Dealer to the Stars”.
After the west coast and Don Lee was cloaked in complete darkness, two powerful Klieg
searchlights were illuminated and started sweeping the sky over downtown L.A., after which, a
phosphorescent flare was lit high over the city, which illuminated downtown L.A. Suddenly, a
large plane appeared from the dark void, piloted by Jack Frye, one of California’s most
experienced stunt pilots. The large plane (possibly a Fokker air liner) swooped in low over 7th
Avenue, between the blinding searchlights, as the crowd watched with anticipation!
In the artificial light of the blinding phosphorescent flare, Frye’s plane was highlighted by
exploding bursts of pyrotechnic fireworks which made the plane look like it was on fire. At the
height of this display Frye released pyrotechnics along the wings of his plane in the colors of a
Cadillac emblem (red, gold, blue, and white) as he swooped and circled for the crowd.
Frye was also a member of the 13 Flying Black Cats of Hollywood and president of Aero
Corporation of California. The event (a dangerous night-time aerial stunt) was covered live on
radio and extensively in newspapers.
Don Lee was noted for such lavish sales celebrations and even bought a radio station (KFRC)
and installed the transmission tower on top of his dealership at 1000 Van Ness Avenue in San
Francisco. What a way to save on Cadillac advertising dollars!
Don Lee Cadillac in 2011? Unfortunately not a trace. The corner of 7th and Bixel is now ‘inner
city’ and the only clue to the nationally famous “Dealership to the Stars” and Jack Frye’s
daring night-time aerial stunt is a vintage motel called- Motel De Ville- (as in Coupe and Sedan
de Ville). Coincidence? I think not. The motel sits one building in from the corner of 7th and
Bixel in an area now populated by what appears to be high rise condo buildings. So much for the
glory days of Los Angeles and Hollywood or should I say the “Roaring Twenties” which Frye was
very much a part of! By the way- the famous Hollywood sign? It sits on Lee Mountain, named
after Don Lee, and for those of you who know your Los Angeles history as I do, you know it was
originally an advertisement for HOLLYWOODLAND (later the “land” dropped). Then, a new
(very rural) housing development of 1923. Believe it or not, the sign originally was encircled in,
it is said, 4000-some bulbs and lit at night. Must have been quite the visual, you think?
Howard Hughes’ Hell’s Angels? Jack Frye flew some of the aerial stunts for the movie and
likely attended the premier. Please see Page 1928.
Aero Corp. (d.b.a. Standard Air Lines) Passenger Information 1927
Monday- November 28th 1927 (as documented from numerous media reports from 1927).
Anxious onlookers gathered in the early dawn of Los Angeles at the new field and home base of
Aero Corporation of California @ 99th and Western Avenue, near Inglewood, California.
Jack Frye, sometimes referred to as William (W.) John Frye, president of both Aero
Corporation and Standard Air Lines, confidently oversaw the loading of one of the two new
single engine planes assigned for service on the new established air route between Los Angeles-
Phoenix-Tucson. A dream of Frye’s and a natural progression for the operation that started out
as Burdett Flying School, Jack knew in order to secure a financial future for his company it
must become a passenger air line. Devilishly attractive and sharply dressed Frye was wearing a
suit and tie for the occasion with fedora. (Frye, to my knowledge, never in his career donned a
pilot’s uniform, his position did not dictate it and I feel it was his personal preference.) He had
recently received the very first commercial Transport License issued for the State of Arizona
“License Number 1” as issued by the Arizona Corporate Commission. His business partner,
Paul Richter received the second license issued. Arizona is thought to be the first state to issue
pilot’s licenses. Frye would be for many years the only airline president in the world to hold a
Transport License, which enabled him to fly his own planes as captain at any time. The event of
November 28, 1927 was monumental for Tucson and Phoenix and the State of Arizona which
was most grateful to Standard Air Lines and the 23-year-old Frye. All the billions of dollars that
Arizona has raked in from tourism throughout the last 70-some-years, started at this time
frame, and in part with Jack Frye. This aviator with his pioneering airline is credited with
turning Arizona from a dry sand swept wasteland into a tourist Mecca of which the result is
evident today. Through his interstate air line (and even before with charter work) Frye
promoted Arizona heavily. He personally flew celebrities, tourists, and investors to Arizona for
socializing, recreation and development. Many were personal friends who later bought property
and businesses here. Jack believed in Arizona, a state he considered his adopted home. By 1948
he was reported to own over 50-thousand-acres of Arizona ranch land. The people and business
interests Frye brought to the State of Arizona were invaluable! Jack later at the end of his life,
in 1959, was in the process of negotiating a major aircraft manufacturing plant for Tucson, a
city he loved and was developing a new aircraft partnership venture with industrialist and
aviation enthusiast Howard Hughes.
The new Fokker Universal was loaded with 200 pounds of express packages and V.I.P.
passengers. Provenance would secure several of these men’s legacies forever as they were
associated with a landmark project that would become world famous.
The following passengers were said to have been on board the Aero Fokker that day, according
to three published sources. However, to my understanding the plane held 4-6 passengers and
one pilot. Below you will find (8 names) plus others which were on board at different legs of the
journey. (The first 4 passengers were definitely on the first plane).
John H. Gage, president of John H. Gage Development Company of Arizona and chairman of
the board of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel project. Gage was a hotelier, but more so known as the
president-founder of the famous “Pig'n Whistle” restaurant chain of Southern California and
Charles Baad, general manager of the Los Angeles Biltmore and business partner of Biltmore
Hotels, Inc. and at one time one of the countries foremost experts on telegraphy.
James Woods, president of the Los Angeles and the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel.
Nate S. Milnor, director of Biltmore Antique Stores.
All these passengers were key players in the development of the soon to be, world famous
Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Arizona Biltmore Hotel (the 15th in the chain) at Scottsdale
Arizona. At a cost of 2 million, 400 thousand dollars, the project was slated to break ground at
the 600-acre building site by March 1928, and be open by Christmas.
Other passengers were:
Warren McArthur, Jr., of McArthur Brothers Mercantile Co. Also president of the Arizona
Chapter of the National Aeronautical Association. Interestingly, this prominent Arizona
resident, with his brother Charles, launched Arizona’s first radio station, KFAD “Kan’t Fool a
Dodge” five years earlier. This station today is well known as Arizona’s “voice of public radio”
KTAR “Keep Taking Arizona Public”. McArthur was also a prominent early Arizona automobile
Richmond A. Edwards, vice-president of Aero Corporation of California (formerly a Tucson
resident, and possibly was an Aero pilot).
T. S. Lundgren, aviation representative of Union Oil Company of California.
As pilot-president Lt. Jack Frye gunned the Fokker engine and pointed the aircraft’s nose
toward the Valley of Sun, a Bach Air Yacht flew overhead and dropped a note of congratulations
to Aero Corp. for the launch of this new airline service. The commendation was signed by Capt.
Walker F. Parkins, inspector for the Aeronautical Bureau of the Department of Commerce.
The Fokker airliner left Los Angeles promptly at 10:00 A.M. and landed at 1:50 P.M. at
The passenger list changed at Phoenix, where a majority of passengers deplaned to include the
Biltmore associates and new ones boarded. A few of the new passengers notated historically
P. G. "Rox" Spilsbury, president of the (A.I.C.) Arizona Industrial Congress and mining
engineer with the Anaconda Cooper Mining Company.
H. E. O. Whitman, traveling as an assistant to Spilsbury.
Wayne Richardson, reporter with the Associated Press Bureau of Phoenix.
At the end of the day the Frye Fokker landed at Mayse Airport west of Tucson, Arizona, at 5:00
P.M., on-the-dot. (The location is now known as Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum @ 6th and
Irvington, South Tucson.) Vice-president of Aero Corporation, Edwards was the first to step out
on the Tucson landing field amid a crowd of over a 100 cheering spectators. Frye was presented
with a huge basket of local flowers, while many officials stepped forward to shake his hand and
that of vice-president Richmond Edwards. About the same time the Fokker started unloading,
an Aero Corporation Eaglerock bi-plane arrived from the coast with extra express and a relief
pilot. The pilot, Leon (also Lee?) Schoenhair was scheduled to fly another Fokker which had
been hangared at Mayse Field for several days back to Los Angeles in the morning.
The Return Leg- First Round Trip of Aero Corporation of California
Tuesday- November 29th, 1927
Departure 8:00 A.M.
Leon Schoenhair (could this be Lee Schoenhair?)
Frye departed Tuesday (likely in the Eaglerock) but returned to Tucson Wednesday with a
second pilot and stayed for several days on business. The second pilot flew the run on Thursday
to L.A., and Frye later returned to Phoenix and Los Angeles. Edwards was scheduled to
tentatively depart Tuesday, November 29 and fly straight through to Los Angeles. However,
passenger list shows Edwards did not board.
Sam Elrod, local Tucson realtor
L. C. James, automobile dealer
H. E. O. Whitman
And a Mr. Richardson
The plane was loaded with weighed freight and express, stowed behind the passenger section.
By 9:10 A.M.
The plane landed at Phoenix, Arizona. Elrod and James deplaned and after conducting business
they returned to Tucson on Tuesday evening by train, a trip of a little over 4 hours.
The Second Leg- Phoenix to Los Angeles
Flight time 3 hours 57 minutes
(on December 18, 1927 the route was flown by pilot Frye with passenger in 3 hrs. 5 minutes)
Mrs. Warren McArthur (68) of Phoenix
Mr. Warren McArthur, Jr. of Phoenix
Additional passengers are unclear but according to news reports several Biltmore associates
returned and Charles Baad, at least was interviewed.
The plane included 75 pounds express packages which were shipped from Phoenix. This included
a goodwill gift (a box of AZ. grapefruit) from P. G. Spilsbury to the Los Angeles Chamber of
Commerce president, D. F. Daniel McGarry (also on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Los
Angeles). Lastly a large box of fresh cut flowers were unloaded and released to the vice-
president of the Los Angeles National Trust and Savings Bank, W. H. Thompson, from Charles
Morton, of Phoenix.
10-years later the president of Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc. (TWA) Jack Frye,
reflected on the launch of his airline; “I carried my first passenger for pay up for a spin over
the landing field for $5.00, in a single-seat army type plane.”
After a few years of building Burdett Flying School and flying sightseeing trips, stunts for the
13 Black Cats, etc., Frye explained that he decided that in order to succeed he needed to make
a profit. This was best achieved with passenger-express air service. The first plane used was a
Fokker 6-passenger cabin airliner which would leave Los Angeles for Tucson one day and
return to the coast the next with a 20-minute-stop at Phoenix, Arizona.
Little known fact about the trips, as stated by Frye, “the plane wouldn’t hold enough gasoline
to fly all the way to Phoenix, so I regularly sat down on the highway at Desert City, California,
taxied up to a filling station and took on fuel. We never knew in Los Angeles whether the plane
reached Tucson or not, but there was an understanding that if it didn’t the pilot would send us a
telegram”. Frye stated at a later date, that another benefit to stopping at Desert City California
(seemingly what we now call "Desert Center" California on I-10) was that women passengers
could deplane and use the service station restroom and freshen-up. The early planes had no
bathrooms, at least not for women.
First Los Angeles East-West Bound Passenger Service
First Inter Intra-State Passenger Service for the State of Arizona
Dedicated to the Only Man in Aviation History
Whose Name is Synonymous with T.W.A. (Jack Frye)
Other Aero Corporation executives noted in news sources from 1927 with official positions-
Walter A. Hamilton, Chief Engineer in charge of Aero Corporation fields.
Paul E. Richter, Jr. Treasurer of Aero Corporation of California, Inc.
Fred L. Hattoom, Aero Corp. Business Manager, and flying instructor at Standard Flying Schools
Charles W. Cradick, Attorney and Secretary for Aero Corporation of California, Inc.
Please note: many early founders of Aero wore different hats at different times like for
instance, Richter, was at times, vice-president, and Hamilton was always chief engineer and
I like to enhance text with photographs in my work but I have seen virtually no photos of this
event except two grainy wire service photos. It seems as well that other historians have
encountered the same dilemma even to the error of posting an image that is not connected with
the following event, but similar. With a concerted effort by myself to resist re-publishing media
images on this website, we will therefore let the "words" describe the scene.
Fokker Super Universal monoplane (thought to be a F.VII, c/n and reg. number not verified)
Single engine (possibly Wright J-6 radial @ 330 hp., many engines were tested by Aero)
1 pilot- 6 passengers (as reported by Frye)
Service load 1800 pounds
Cruising speed 110 m.p.h.
Equipped with modern radio communication equipment
(It is my understanding that initially only one plane was available for this route, not three).
The event detailed in the above text occurred at this location back in 1927 @ 6th and Irvington
Avenue in an area now known as South Tucson. When Jack swung his Fokker in for a landing
on the then primitive runway he likely saw little in the way of houses, boulevards, or
businesses as we do today. The old airfield is now utilized by the Tucson Rodeo Museum. Little
remains of the original trappings of the airport which incidentally was the very first municipally
owned and operated airport in the U.S. However, it is easy to visualize the dusty acres as having
once been a very busy early landing field for the small town of Tucson. Interestingly, at this
same time frame, Jack Frye owned the largest private air field in the Western United States at
Los Angeles. It was from this location that he established commercial air service to Casa
Grande, Phoenix, Tucson, Douglas, and El Paso etc. He was also the first person to land a
(non-sea plane) on Catalina Island California and established weekend shuttle service to Big
Bear Lake near Los Angeles.
Back-Story -Mayse Airport-Tucson Municipal Fall of 2009
The famous aviator
president founder of
Standard Air Lines
and TWA was
associated with this
early Tucson air
field in 1927!
Jack Frye Can Truly Be Considered the 'Founding Father' of the
Very First Arizona and Tucson Airport Commercial Air Service
As an Arizona resident and former Tucsonian I am proud of this community and it's history.
Jack Frye also was very fond of Tucson. In the late 1950's he passionately promoted a new
aircraft plant for Tucson. I am proud that the man who established the very first commercial
airline service for Arizona, as President of Aero Corporation, is no longer forgotten by
Tucsonians but recognized for his contributions. The Jack Frye Ranch in Sedona is now the
"Crown Jewel" of the Arizona State Park properties, as Red Rock State Park. Tragically, Jack
died in Tucson, killed by a drunk driver in 1959, at the intersection of Palo Verde Blvd and Ajo
Highway. Jack was a true aviation pioneer in every sense of the word, yet through the years, he
has received little of the accolades he truly deserves. He was instrumental in the creation of the
Douglas Commercial and Constellation Airliners, among other noted planes. Amazingly, not
only did he launch the first air service to Arizona, as notated on this page, but later, launched
the first U.S. trans-continental air service, and in 1946, the first U.S. trans-Atlantic passenger
air service with TWA. These monumental milestones all started, in part, at Aero Corporation
Field in Los Angeles and Mayse Field in Tucson Arizona in 1927! TWA- borne of the Southwest!
Aero Corporation and Standard Air Lines Colors- Undocumented
For some time, I and other historians have been searching for the true color scheme of the
original Aero and Standard Air Lines planes. This quest has proven difficult as there are no
references in newspapers, little in books, and all the old images are in black and white. Old
timer memories can be rather unreliable as well. There is added confusion when one considers
that Standard Air Lines was sold in 1930 and many of the well-circulated color posters of
Standard Air Lines; Lockheed Vegas, etc., were after Jack Frye’s association with the company.
My feeling is that the noses were silver and the fuselage was royal blue, not red, like W.A.E.
Although early factory Fokkers delivered to Aero Corporation (Fokker Dealer) in the summer
of 1927 were said to be ordered with 2-way-radios, perhaps, they were not overly efficient in
regard to Jack’s statement above about telegrams. Likely, radio communication had a very
limited range and was only effective over airport vicinities. Certainly, such an early and at the
time primitive luxury option would have added considerable weight to the new 15 thousand
dollar planes. This makes Standard Air Lines one of the earliest to incorporate this added
safety measure if not the first, a convenience we now take for granted in our modern times.
From a note to Jack Frye, from Tony Fokker, to paraphrase- "Jack Frye was my first agent
(1926) and my best customer and most admired friend in the transport aviation field." (1938)
Post Script: It is relatively easy to document historic events and the people associated with
them. However, it is often difficult to verify the dates companies and corporations were legally
incorporated. This is ever apparent with Aero Corporation and Standard Air Lines and the many
mergers undertaken by them (1926 to 1930). In regard to the first official inaugural passenger
flight of November 28, 1927, never is it mentioned in the media the words “Standard Air Lines”
but rather instead "Aero Corporation plane". By early 1928, Standard Air Lines starts to
surface in press reports. Historically, it is 'oft stated Standard Air Lines was founded
February 3, 1926 but I have yet to verify this date with press material. It appears Aero
Corporation of California, Inc. was the first to be formulated in early 1926, and in 1927, or early
1928, Standard was incorporated. By 1928 on, Standard Air Lines, Inc. was often stated to be a
solely owned subsidiary of Aero Corporation of California, Inc. Additionally, many early
company planes displayed the lettering “Aero Corporation of California”, and later “Standard
Air Lines”. The lettering (either Aero or Standard) on the November 28, 1927 flight is not
verified. It was necessary that Aero be founded first as an umbrella of Standard Air Lines.
Landmark Hassayampa Hotel- Prescott Arizona- Famous Guests
Recently I have uncovered an early and quite notable aviation milestone by Jack Frye. The
event occurred when Jack was ferrying a new Fokker 8-passenger airliner back from New York
to the west coast through Arizona to Los Angeles. On this trip, just 2 days before Thanksgiving,
he arrived at Prescott, Arizona where he had been asked to be a guest of honor at a meeting of
the Arizona Industrial Congress. The meeting was held at Prescott’s luxurious Hassayampa
Hotel downtown (newly opened). Frye arrived with 1 passenger, Harry T. Tucker, of Santa
Monica and N.Y.C. (employee of Frye) and doubled as a relief pilot of the giant passenger ship.
Young airline executive extols the future of Prescott aviation- November 21, 1927
At the annual meeting for the (A.I.C.) Arizona Industrial Congress, which was akin to a
Chamber of Commerce for the State of Arizona, Frye spoke about the future of aviation for
Arizona and Prescott to the 116 members who were attendance. Other V.I.P.’s at this aviation-
development seminar, were AIC president, Rox Spilsbury and president of the a regional- U.S.
Nat. Parks associated Scenic Airways, J. Parker Van Zandt. Spilsbury was soon to participate as
a V.I.P. on Arizona’s first interstate airline passenger service on November 28, as a V.I.P.
passenger, with Frye as pilot. Van Zandt on the other hand, was responsible for the founding
and naming of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. In his speech Frye extolled the future of aviation,
with special attention to Prescott in which he stated that the small community would have 6-8
daily airplane landings within 2 years, and in 10 years, this would increase to 50-100. Frye was
always a noted statesman from early on and would become in time one of the country’s most
valued aviation leaders. Both Van Zandt and Frye regaled AIC Members with the wonder of the
future of aviation and praised the efforts of the local Prescott air field. On an aside M. B.
Hazeltine, a director of the Hassayampa Hotel, praised the hotel and its ability to bring such
valued community and statewide leaders together, no doubt, he mused, a valued trend for the
future of state commerce. He also complimented the Hassayampa’s architect, Christopher
Totten for his talented efforts. Unfortunately Totten was not able to be present due to an illness.
After the meeting, a banquet was held in the Hotel's dining room, after which, the large hall
was cleared for a dance, which continued well into the A.M. Music was provided by the Hard
Rock Miner’s Quartet. Prescottonians were excited to mix with Frye, a remarkable aviation
celebrity, who for many years was the youngest airline president in the country, at this date he
was only 23. The Hassayampa Hotel hosted Frye for his overnight lodging in Prescott, Arizona.
In the history of Arizona, Jack Frye was awarded the very first Pilot’s License, as issued by the
State of Arizona (transport license) and honored many times as an official “Son” of Arizona.
This license was the 1st ever issued by any state in the union. Frye was credited with bringing
millions of dollars to the state of Arizona with his airlines; Standard and TWA throughout the
years. Frye always believed in Arizona and it served as his adopted home state.
The next morning (November 22) Jack Frye thrilled locals by offering short 15-minute flights,
north to Del Rio and back, flying over Granite Dells each way. This was quite an event for this
remote town of Prescott, where few people had ever seen a aero plane let alone fly in one. Jack
conducted 6 hops in all with his new 8-passenger Fokker luxury airliner. On one flight, he
diverted his projected path to transport Mr. and Mrs. Robert Tally to Jerome and back up and
over the Black Hills east of the city. Passengers notated by name that day were Samuel S.
Perry, Mr. and Mrs. Timothy A. Riordan (Flagstaff), Mrs. Henrietta Jett, Gail Gardner (Skull
Valley), Mrs. Pickens E. Woodson, and Mr. and Mrs. Black (Kingman). Other passengers were
not documented. Many of the passengers were guests of the Hassayampa Hotel to include Harry
Tucker, the Tallys, and the Riordans. Timothy Riordan became a life-long friend of Frye and his
later wife Helen Varner Vanderbilt Frye, and was one of Flagstaff’s most prominent business
entrepreneurs and lumbermen. By noon, president Frye and Tucker departed in the Fokker for
Phoenix, after which, they departed again that afternoon to arrive at Los Angeles by about
6:00 p.m. that evening.
Later, in letter (1934), Jack Frye recounts his experience of 1927 Prescott. "I often fly over
Flagstaff and think of the pleasant visit I had in Prescott the time you and Mrs. Riordan went
for a ride with me in the old Fokker Universal. Some day I will stop in with one of our new
Douglas Planes and repeat the experience. You will enjoy these new planes as they have all the
comforts of the finest Pullman car with lots of room, large comfortable chairs, steam heating
and all possible conveniences. They are also quieter than the average Pullman car."
Jack’s visit to Prescott was a mini-celebration in a day when such luxury of flight was little
known. The good-will flights he conducted around the United States were to promote Aero
Corporation of California, and Standard Air Lines’ upcoming airline passenger service.
Historical information for this narrative originally came from Frye intimate Timothy A.
Riordan of Flagstaff. Verification of details, courtesy of the Prescott Courier.
Recently, on a routine visit to Prescott, I had the honor of coming across the Hassayampa
Hotel. I had remembered that it was connected to Jack Frye but had no idea that the hotel still
existed in such a grand manner. So many times such landmarks associated with Frye have
changed so much, and the owners, if the buildings still exist, have no idea the details of their
former opulence. This is certainly not the case with the Hassayampa where I found an inviting
fireplace glowing in the grand lobby and a warm staff which valued all the Hotel’s former
historic associations. The establishment shows nary a sign of aging and is a refreshing blast
from the past! I generally refrain from endorsements in my work but I was so impressed with
this, one of Arizona’s most charming and pristine historic hotels, that I recommend anyone
who visits Red Rock State Park (the former Frye Ranch) at Sedona to visit this hotel in their
quest to find Frye associations in and around Arizona. I was overwhelmed with excitement as I
entered the gilded foyers, thinking about the aviation legend Jack Frye (father of TWA)
walking the same path, at just 23 years old, in the year of 1927! A moving experience that many
TWA and Frye fans would do well to experience themselves!
This hotel now stands proudly beside the other hotels frequented by the Fryes- like the famous
Ambassador Hotel (Los Angeles), Beverly Wilshire Hotel (Beverly Hills), Wardman Park Hotel
and the Mayflower where pal Howard Hughes often stayed too (both Washington D.C.), and the
Hotel Ambassador in (N.Y.C.) where the Fryes lived for a time. Regional hotels included the
Lodge on the Desert (Tucson), Hotel Westward Ho (Phoenix), The Gadsden Hotel (Douglas), El
Tovar (Grand Canyon), La Posada (Winslow), La Fonda (Santa Fe), Camelback Inn (Scottsdale),
and Oak Creek Canyon's Mayhew Lodge, to name just a few. The Hassayampa Hotel can now
proudly say TWA Legend Jack Frye was one of their very first V.I.P. guests in 1927!
Jack Frye's history with Arizona is often
thought to have been mainly in the 1940's when
he was once one of the state's most famous
residents but surprisingly he stayed at the
famous Hassayampa Hotel in Prescott early on.
Jack's visit was back in the early time frame of 1927 at the young age of 23 years old. And yes,
as usually was the case, he arrived in his own plane. The hotel today is in remarkable condition
and looks much like it did in 1927! A showcase of historic materials can be located at the front
desk where the hotel proudly exhibits the glorious past of this landmark downtown building.
In 1919, before Standard Air Lines started service to Tucson Arizona, aviation enthusiast
Kirke T. Moore worked diligently with Mayor O. C. Parker as head of a group which raised
funds to purchase land south of Tucson which was developed into the first municipally owned
airfield in the United States (Charles Mayse Airport) @ 6th and Irvington.
Mr. Moore was instrumental, 6 years later (1925), in spearheading a lease by the City of Tucson
of a 1,280-acre tract of land (Davis-Monthan Airport- Lieutenant Samuel H. Davis and
Lieutenant Oscar Monthan) which became the second airport (the largest municipal airfield in
the U.S. at that time). This property is on the south end of the current Davis-Monthan Air Force
Base and adjoins the Southern Pacific right-a-way. Kirke, in negotiations with Jack Frye (head
of Standard Air Lines in Los Angeles), was able to secure the first commercial air service for
the Tucson region. By the early 1940’s, Tucson airport was moved to its present location (TIA)
because of traffic complications encountered sharing a field with the army air force.
October 30, 1927
Lieut. Frye lands at 99th and Western Avenue after the completion of a 31 hour flight from
New York, with Harry Tucker as relief pilot. The plane will be utilized in the new thrice weekly
new Aero Corp. passenger service from L.A.-Phoenix-Tucson. The route will be extended to El
Paso after the air terminal and field there are completed. Frye’s flight was made with a new
dual-control Fokker single-engine cabin plane. Air mail service is sought.
Forgotten Landings and Departures- In the Air with Jack Frye
To paraphrase- Jack Frye, piloting a Fokker Universal, dropped into Riverside Airport from
Tucson Arizona during the first half of September 1929 (exact date unknown). Frye was
eastbound from New York City enroute to San Francisco, when he landed for fuel and service.
The four westbound passengers enjoyed the beautiful airport during their visit, so much so, that
one of them exclaimed, “So this is California? This is the prettiest most scenic airport we have
been to on the whole trip!” The group decided to make a ten-minute stop three hours!
J. S. Hammond- Aviation Magazine September 19, 1929.
November 28, 1928
Aero President Jack Frye traveled back east at the end of November to take delivery of a new
three-engine-Fokker to be used on the Standard Airlines Los Angeles-PHX-TUC-ELP passenger
Frye departed Wednesday evening, Nov. 28, from Aero Corporation Field at Los Angeles, for
Colorado Springs Colorado, where he toured the Alexander Aircraft production facility. Frye is
a west coast dealer for the popular Eaglerock biplane manufactured by the Alexander Co.
On November 29, Frye continued east to Chicago Illinois, where he attended the International
Aeronautical Conference. While in Chicago, he also attended the annual gathering of the
American Air Transport Operators’ Association. Frye is the only airline head in the world to
possess an Commercial Transport License, in which, as president, he flies his own commercial
Within days, Frye was in Washington D.C. attending the International Aeronautical
At the end of his east coast tour, Frye was at the Fokker factory at Hasbrouck Heights New
Jersey, where he took delivery of a brand new Fokker F10 Super Trimotor luxury airliner. This
transport was based on the Tri-Fokker utilized by Commander Byrd on his South Pole
Frye, as pilot of the massive ship, departed for Los Angeles with one passenger, Dana Bennett
(a Hollywood banker). The trip across the United States was uneventful and without
September 21-25 1927
National Air Races
Felts Field @ Spokane Washington
Pacific Coast Speed Race (September 21)
Class A, 2 passengers or 320 pounds ballast:
San Francisco to Spokane, with 5-minute stop Swan Island, (5 official entries)
Support at Red Bluff, Redding, Medford, Eugene
1st Place, N. C. Lippiatt (Aberdeen) Passenger A. Z. Luz, Travelair biplane #84
(2:17 P.M.) Prize: $1500.00
2nd Place, Lee Schoenhair (Hollywood) Passenger T. F. Wells, International biplane
(2:40 P.M.) Prize: $1000.00
3rd Place, Vance Breese (San Francisco) Passengers Mrs. Vance Breese, R. S. Meyer,
C. B. Allen, Breese-5 monoplane #82, (4:07 P.M.) Prize: $500.00
4th Place, Jack Frye (Los Angeles) Passengers Frank E. Samuels, C. F. Lienesch (N.A.A.),
Aero Corporation Transport Fokker Universal #67 (4:08 P.M.)
5th Place, Norman A. Goddard (San Diego) Passenger Harry Brown, Imperial monoplane,
(6:38 P.M.) Forced down twice- further delay- difficulty locating Felts Field at night
Class B, San Francisco to Spokane (6 official entries)
1st Place, Cecil L. Langdon (Aberdeen) Passenger R. N. Bergen, International biplane #81
(3:01 P.M.) Prize: $1000.00
2nd Place, D. C. Warren (San Francisco) Travelair monoplane #87 (3:21 P.M.) Prize: $500.00
3rd Place, Lee Willey (Los Angeles) Passenger Art Carlton, Aero Corporation Eaglerock
biplane #35 (3:28 P.M.) Prize: $250.00
No Show Entries- 18-year-old James C. ‘Jimmy’ Rinehart (Portland) 1927 Travelair monoplane
#90 ‘City of Roses’ (encountered fog- forced landing highway- damaged wheel- repaired- took
off next day to search (with 4 other planes) for missing pilot Brookwalter.
Vernon Brookwalter (Vancouver) ‘City of Vancouver’ Travelair #83 (disappeared fog- forced
landing- found 24-hours later).
Arthur A. Borne (Los Angeles) Passenger Robert Grey, Brown monoplane #56, reported
missing enroute to Spokane- found later.
Air Transport Speed and Efficiency Race (Detroit Air Transport Trophy for Speed)
1st Place, ($750.00) Frank M. Hawks- Ryan Brougham @ 104.837
2nd Place, ($300.00) Jack Frye- Fokker Universal @ 100.065 (Plane #67)
3rd Place, ($ unknown) John H. Miller- Hamilton @ 96.509
Commercial Plane OX-5
1st Place, Eugene Dettmers (Tarrytown) Travelair (102.548 M.P.H. @ 80-miles) $100.00
2nd Place, Paul Richter (Los Angeles) Eaglerock, 13 minutes @ 82.45 M.P.H. $50.00
3rd Place, C. W. Meyers (Troy) Waco
Flying Magazine reports:
C. W. Meyers Waco Biplane as 1st (23.27 minutes @ 83.87 M.P.H.)
Tex Rankin (dropped out)