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
educational and entertainment purposes. Some materials may be displayed in regard to the
United States Fair Use Act. This web portal is totally non-profit and generates no income nor
does it seek or has it ever accepted a single donation. It is an independent venture.
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
TWA Lockheed Lodestar 18 NC 33604
At the dawning of 1945 Jack Frye traded his beloved Lockheed 12A NC18137 for a larger more
luxurious executive plane; a Lockheed 18. From this point (until 1947) if you spotted a TWA
Lodestar 18 -you knew Jack Frye and often his wife Helen were in town. Fast and sleek, the
plane represented Frye and Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc. with a futuristic flair.
Congratulations to Lockheed for creating one of the most beautiful planes ever! This was the
only L18 ever owned by TWA and it was always designated as Frye's personal executive plane!
1942 Lockheed Lodestar 18 C56D
C/N 2170, NC33604, TWA Fleet #241
Crew (3) Passengers (14)
The Lodestar was capable of lift-off with full-load (17,500 lbs) in 15 seconds @ 860 feet.
Climbing rate was 1200 feet per minute. On approach @ 50 feet and 65 m.p.h. the Lodestar
could come to a stop in just 600 yards (1800 feet). A remarkable and very versatile plane. The
Lodestar was well-suited for typical paved runaways or hard-pack remote dirt landing strips.
The photo above is a 'one in a million' blast from the past! Thanks to the miracle of Canon this
priceless 2.5 inch snapshot is now enlarged to fill an entire page. Provenance is unknown, but
likely it was taken by a TWA ground crew member. Miraculously, it has surfaced some
64-years later on EBay! This image is now the exclusive property of the Sedona Legend.
Observations on the above image- The plane is being serviced at what appears to be either MCI
or DCA (both home bases for the plane). One ground crew member is standing just inside the
passenger door while another TWA baggage man pauses outside the fuselage with two Frye
suitcases. The nose luggage compartment is open and luggage belonging to Jack and Helen Frye
is sitting on an elevated rack- 2 flight trunks and 2 suitcases. The cockpit slider window is open
and you can see a portion of the '241' (which is painted on the nose) right below the round red
warning light. Did Jack order NC33604 ready for departure or has he and his passengers
already been whisked off by a waiting limo to home or hotel? Looks like a departure loading to
me; however, we will never know for sure. The photo is a treasure, only found at Sedona
Legend. Shown in the image are (6) TWA ground crew members. Date is 1946 or 1947.
Most significant is that the lettering on fuselage has been altered (in this image) to display-
"Trans World Airline". (An earlier version of this Lodestar's TWA lettering is below on this
page). This was the private executive plane of Jack Frye, long-time president and co-founder of
Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc. This stunning transport served Frye from December of
1944 to February of 1947 (when Frye resigned from TWA). The original power plants on this
ship are unknown; however, later in the plane's life when it was owned by Morton Salt it was
fitted with (2) 1350 h.p. Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94's, making it extremely fast with speeds up
to 250 m.p.h. This from Morton Salt Corporate pilot Herb Garrett. (Image dates to about 1946).
FAA records show Jack Frye took possession of his new (reconditioned) Lockheed Lodestar
NC 33604 on December 27, 1944. It is safe to assume that the Lodestar was in TWA hands by
perhaps early December 1944. The civilian Lodestar had a manufacture date of May 4, 1942. It
was then converted to U.S.A.A.F. (18-01/C-56D-LO) and used lightly in the U.S., as military
registration #42-57224, until fall of 1944, when it was converted to civilian use. More research
is needed to establish actual transfer dates. As well, I’m still searching for elusive U.S.A.A.F.
photos of the plane and additional TWA photos. Originally, the plane was emblazoned with the
trademark logo 'the Transcontinental Line' but was changed to reflect 'Trans World Airline'.
Lost TWA Hostess
Miss Harriet Appelwick Huntoon-
"V.I.P." Hostess -personally selected by
Frye to serve on the Presidential Lodestar.
The most coveted hostess assignment with
T.W.A. Later served as personal Hostess
for Howard Hughes on the TWA Lodestar.
Photo, likely captured by photographer
Jack Frye, in about 1946, shows Helen
Frye and Harriet riding horses at the
700-acre Frye Ranch @ Sedona, Arizona.
The position Transcontinental & Western Air hostesses envied the most was secured by Harriet
Appelwick, who joined TWA in October of 1943 (as verified by TWA records). Miss Appelwick is
seen above to the right side of Helen Frye, at the Frye Ranch in Sedona (now Red Rock State
Park). Before Harriet took the position she was employed by the war department in Washington
D.C. One day (prior to 1943) Harriet was carpooling with her male co-workers, their auto was
stopped at a Washington cross street. On the crosswalk the men observed a smart young lady,
in a Transcontinental & Western Air hostess uniform, strolling past the car. She was definitely
noticed by all the men in the automobile to which one of them turned to Harriet (who was quite
a knockout herself) and said excitedly, “that’s what you should be doing!" Harriet replied,
"what do you mean?” The unanimous reply of her carpool friends was, “You Should Be A TWA
Hostess!” Harriet smiled, after observing the woman for a moment, she said, "you’re right, I
think I could do that!”
Harriet Appelwick soon found herself at Transcontinental & Western Air applying for the
glamorous job of in-flight hostess attendant. The only glitch was that she had to wait a couple
months to start as she was under the TWA age requirement for new hostesses. Finally, after
being hired, trained, and serving her time on milk runs, she was eventually hand picked to be
the most elite of all Transcontinental in flight personnel- Private V.I.P. Hostess, staffing the
private plane of the long-term president and co-founder of TWA Jack Frye. Her position
was newly created within Transcontinental & Western Air by Frye. Harriet was the first
permanent hostess to ever serve as an exclusive representative to a TWA company president
and his V.I.P. guests. Her official title with TWA? Unknown, but in a Santa Fe newspaper
interview, with Mrs. Jack Frye, who was accompanied by Appelwick, it was said Harriet was the
"Chief Hostess" of TWA. It is not known if Helen or Harriet actually stated this or it was a title
of sorts. They were traveling on the private TWA 14-passenger Lodestar.
This employee position was necessitated by Jack Frye, who had recently (1945) started flying a
much larger private executive plane which could accommodate guest passengers and an official
company attendant. (Previous Frye plane was a smaller Lockheed 12A Junior). An obscure
Transcontinental & Western Air guideline applied as well from the mid-1940's, basically stated,
that, “all TWA passenger transports be staffed by a pilot, co-pilot, and a hostess”. Harriet was
employed as "on call" and had to be available at a moment's notice, day or night. Part of this
information was provided by retired Transcontinental & Western Air Captain Walt Gunn who
at one time served as Jack Frye’s personal co-pilot on the Frye Lockheed Electra. Gunn is the
first TWA associate who 8 years ago identified photos of Harriet, having met her as the Frye’s
personal hostess. This along with local Sedona lore started my research on this mystery lady
who stayed at the Sedona ranch and was a personal friend of the Fryes.
Harriet soon started hosting presidential flights of the executive service Lockheed Lodestar.
The only flights she did not staff were the ones in which Jack did not request a private hostess
which one might assume were some hunting and fishing trips. Jack utilized both ships
occasionally on "R&R" trips for his executives and corporate friends. This was his way of
making sure that his associates were rewarded for dedicated service to TWA and for doing
business with TWA. As well, Harriet did not staff the overweather research test flights on
either plane. Both the Electra and the Lodestar occasionally served TWA as research planes
(this designation served to justify on the books of TWA why these planes were not being used
in regular scheduled TWA passenger service). Jack Frye, personally, tested various research
equipment himself on his frequent flights in his Lockheeds (as stated by Frye to the media).
By association with the Fryes, Harriet became the personal in flight hostess and cabin
representative for Howard Hughes (the largest stockholder of TWA). This was only when
Howard utilized the TWA Electra and Lodestar. Howard had several private planes himself, a
Lockheed 14 Super Electra, a converted B-23 bomber, and a Boeing Stratoliner, to name just a
few. However, for whatever reason, Howard was always borrowing Jack’s planes for his own
personal use, usually as related to TWA. This issue eventually prompted Jack, who needed his
executive planes to be on constant standby, to start charging his friend Howard $25.00 dollars a
day (per Jack’s sister Sunny). This, likely had more to do with TWA needing to show revenue
for missing planes, rather than Jack needing the fee. Make no mistake about it, Howard may
have invested an obscene amount of money into TWA, but it was Jack Frye who "ran"
Transcontinental & Western Air from 1930 to 1947. Howard proved incapable of managing
TWA in every possible way and never held an official position with the airline. Jack had a
vested interest in the airline from its inception and it was his baby, a fact everyone respected.
In no time, Harriet became fast friends with the cosmopolitan Fryes, especially Jack's wife
Helen. She was graciously invited to stay with the Fryes when they traveled to their private
ranches and their Washington D.C. home, Hillcrest Farm (the Doubleday Mansion). On all
other flights Harriet was put up at local hotels with other Frye crew members. A glamorous life,
have no doubt about it, even to the downside of Harriet being hounded by the press whenever
they were on the trail of Hughes, which seemingly was all the time! Any time Harriet would
“log in" at Transcontinental & Western Air, the press knew that it was either a V.I.P. Frye
flight, or a Hughes flight. Reporters soon learned that if they tracked Harriet, they would hit
pay-dirt, by locating either Howard or Jack. The Lodestar was the most decadent of both TWA
Lockheeds, with a full bar and a complete lavatory or “blue-room” as it was called by pilots. The
Lodestar had a narrow navigation station, behind the cockpit, which was also had heating
facilities for preparing in-flight meals. The attractive sleek airliner accommodated 3 TWA crew
members (2 pilots and a hostess, or an engineer) with the capability of carrying up to 14
passengers who could recline in spatial comfort. The executive Lockheed Lodestars were First
Class. Frye flights often included celebrities or V.I.P.'s., as shown below, in 1945.
Harriet Appelwick.... By 1947, after playing hostess to celebrities, dignitaries, presidents and
the like, for nearly 4 years Harriet was grounded. She had made innumerable transcontinental
flights, and even flights out of the country to places like South America. By February of 1947,
Jack Frye had resigned from TWA, and was bought out by Hughes. With this monumental
event the Lodestar was retired from its executive placement. Jack’s plane was not a corporate
plane but rather a “perk” provided to him as president of TWA and could not be utilized by
other entities except through his executive decree. Ongoing research reveals that for a limited
time, Harriet continued to work for Hughes, after Hughes is thought to have purchased the
plane from TWA in '47. Hughes, also at the same time, utilized former Frye pilot, Ed Bell.
Many airline stewardesses met their future husbands on the wings of company planes in the
guise of pilots or wealthy business men, Harriet was no exception.
By October of 1947, Miss Appelwick met a powerful and handsome man and soon got married.
Transcontinental & Western Air did not allow their hostesses to be married so Harriet’s
position did not transfer to scheduled passenger service. It's likely it would never have been the
same for Harriet anyway, as when one is at pinnacle of the stewardess pyramid, everything else
would certainly seem less than exciting. Howard Hughes affected all his contemporaries in a
disruptive manner, Harriet was not spared from this chaotic association. From crazy late-night
flights with odd mysterious passengers to the often unorthodox and irrational Hughes,
Harriet was often pushed to the limit of her hostess abilities. Nevertheless she served in a
stellar capacity as is evidenced by her evaluation reports from Transcontinental & Western Air.
Her name was in the press often, at which she became a minor-celebrity as associated with Frye
and Hughes in the drama ignited by the Owen Brewster Senate Hearings of the late 1940's.
After TWA, as Harriet Huntoon adjusted to private married life, she shunned the public eye
and became quite reclusive, never wanting to talk about “those” days. Thus, she lived out her
life with her TWA association, all but forgotten, having filled one of the most unique positions
within Transcontinental & Western Air. In our current time frame she has been all but erased
in official TWA hostess records. This is an absolute tragedy, a slight I plan to rectify, as original
employee records still exist. Harriet Appelwick passed away recently and left very few who were
privy to her early years as the very first TWA Presidential Hostess. She served delightfully and
competently throughout the “Camelot Years of Transcontinental & Western Air”. According to
her family Harriet had fond memories of the Fryes, in spite of her experiences with Hughes.
She stayed in touch with Helen Frye up until Helen's death. Harriet is now free to once again
play hostess on the Transcontinental & Western Air Lockheed Lodestar as it slips gracefully in
and out of Sedona air space navigating the heavenly skies with her dear friends, Jack and
Helen Frye, and their many fascinating in-flight guests! Pure magic!
The Fryes had more than a passing interest in the Transcontinental & Western Air
Flight Attendant Program. It was Jack Frye himself who launched the service in 1935 thus
relieving the TWA co-pilots from cabin service. And it was Frye who decreed the "new"
attendants would be referred to as "Hostesses" instead of Stewardesses. As he put it, "they're
serving our guests, they ARE Hostesses." Not surprisingly, here is yet another TWA first that
can be traced right back to Frye. This information can be verified in Robert Serling's "Howard
Hughes' Airline" a man who entertained me in his home and I greatly admire. Helen Frye was
instrumental in designing new TWA uniforms in the mid 1940's and improving in-flight food
service. She also created a revised training manual which was used for many years.
Both the TWA Electra and Lodestar bore similar markings. On many TWA planes the fleet
number was stamped on the nose, as in the Lodestar and Constellations. The two Frye planes
wore distinct markings indicating they were "flight research ships". Both the Electra and
Lodestar were readily recognized within the airline as "the official planes" of TWA president
Jack Frye. One interesting notation in regard to this comes from Jack's cousin, Tom Frye, a
Braniff Airways captain (retired) after a 30 year career. He commented to me that he
remembered one time when Jack landed the Lockheed Electra on a local grass strip near
Wheeler Texas (likely Twitty ) on a flight to visit his (Jack’s) father and stepmother Laura.
As for the Lodestar, Tom says that when he (Tom) once landed a Braniff airliner at Kansas City
(KC) he observed a highly polished Lockheed Lodestar with TWA markings parked
uncharacteristically and oddly on a ramp. After Tom and the passengers deplaned he proceeded
to inquire of TWA officials, "what is that TWA Lodestar doing sitting out there on the ramp
like that?" He was told, "that's Jack Frye's personal plane and it's parked out there at the
ready for his use." This was before Tom realized his cousin Jack had obtained a new executive
plane. Jack's main executive office was in Kansas City for many years. In one historic photo
the Lockheed Electra is parked similarly at the Kansas City TWA Air Terminal. I asked Tom
why he didn't go to work for TWA? He related, it was against TWA company policy to hire
relatives. I guess, at times, even the president and founder of an airline can't bend the rules!
Tom Frye instead had a stellar career with Braniff.
The following is a fact that few TWA associates ever knew and certainly needs to be stated.
Jack and Helen Frye never in their entire marriage had a real vacation. Every trip they took-
every hotel they stayed at- every flight they flew on TWA equipment- every social event- all
was associated with TWA business. Jack, from 1924 on- was always at work, even when he was
at home. This was very taxing on all his marriages. There were few business men as dedicated
as this man and a large part of TWA's early success can be attributed to Frye and Frye alone!
Frye Private Airport Near Sedona
Sedona Arizona had no airport in 1940 when Jack and Helen Frye first discovered Sedona.
Landing locations in the Red Rock Country were primitive at best; however, Jack Frye had his
own airstrip built in the summer of 1941, at the corner of Highway 89A and Cornville Road,
south of Sedona. This airstrip was adequate to land both his private TWA executive planes.
What Jack’s motivation was in creating a new airport so close to the Clemenceau Airport,
(Cottonwood Arizona) is unclear. Because of the rugged terrain he was not able to construct an
airstrip at his red rock ranch. There were other airports at Prescott and Flagstaff and a full
service TWA terminal at Winslow. All the locations listed above, the Frye’s flew in and out of
on occasion. It appears, Jack, perhaps was desiring to start a TWA presence somehow in the
Verde Valley and maybe desired privacy in his transit to and from the ranch. As one Sedona
'ole timer conveyed to me- "each time the Fryes were in town, all who drove down Hwy 89A
between Cottonwood and Sedona would see the 'polished to a mirror' Transcontinental &
Western Air Lockheeds parked out in the desert- the planes were visible for miles."
Word would soon spread- “Jack and Helen Frye are back in town!" When the Frye’s arrived
they were usually accompanied by an entourage of people, “a bevy of beautiful women;
secretaries to secretaries. This was understandable as Jack was never far removed from the
daily operations of TWA. Helen, as well, utilized a secretary of her own to handle social
correspondence and engagements. Jack and Helen sometimes traveled with their butler who
usually worked at their Washington D.C. mansion and Kansas City home. Another occasional
passenger was Evangeline Brown, a private chef who sometimes flew with them to cook for
parties. It is a Sedona legend that each time Jack and Helen would fly in to Sedona their
gleaming Lockheeds would circle and buzz the Frye Ranch twice. This would signal the ranch
hands to jump into a car and drive out to the Frye air strip and pick up Jack, Helen, and their
many guests. One of the Frye Lodestar pilots was Glen Knudsen, who had a twin brother who
also flew for TWA. Another one of Jack and Helen's personal pilots was a man named Al.
Jack always had to combine business with pleasure- there was rarely a visit to his one of his
ranches when he wasn’t enroute to a Trans World Airline business meeting. Many times he
simply didn't have time to fly his plane out to Sedona and would instead take a TWA airliner
from wherever he was, New York, Washington, Kansas City, or the West Coast. Helen as well
often had to fly out to the ranch alone, as Jack’s schedule was extremely tight. On these
occasions the Fryes flew into Winslow Airport where TWA maintained one of their main line
terminals. They would ring up the Sedona Ranch and ask an employee to come get them. Many
Frye associates remember these frantic drives back and forth to Winslow, at all hours, to meet
TWA airliners. The Fryes and their guests always stayed at the Harvey House La Posada at
Winslow. One Frye ranch foreman, Al Nuanez, who was employed at the Frye Ranch,
remembers the time period- “they were mostly traveling, though she was between here and
New York City most of the time. He used to land in Cottonwood (the Frye airstrip) but most of
the time I had to pick him up in Winslow. He had a jet, converted jet, a Lockheed Lonestar
Twin Jet. I enjoyed riding with him, I went twice!" Of course, at the first read of the narrative I
was confused by the reference to the Lonestar jet. However, after many years of researching
the Fryes, I realize that in his 90-year-old-cowboy was likely trying to describe Jack’s Lockheed
Lodestar C-56 (military conversion) twin engine airliner. It is possible, Jack, who worked
closely with Lockheed, was loaned a converted military jet at one time but I have never found
any evidence of this. The technology was nearly non-existence at the time period.
Frye’s flights in and out the Verde Valley were some of the first by any major airline (TWA)
into the region. The airstrip today is a lonely place, the perimeters hard to discern. However,
from the air the airport is clearly revealed. On my recent visit I found the main runway to be
quite large, over a mile in length, the grade a slight incline. The other service exit runway was
about a 1/2 mile long. The main runway is about 150 feet wide (with white stones still seen on
the borders. There are ruins of the fueling facilities and buildings built in the 1940’s. A lone
rusty 5 gallon fuel can still sits on the edge of the strip. Many ole' timers insist Jack and Helen
owned the property outright, one even thought the land may have been leased from the school
district. However the property was secured, Jack used the landing field regularly from 1941
until 1950, and a few times after that. Unfortunately, because of the war, the location was
never to become a regional airport as Jack desired and eventually was forgotten. Today
standing on the wind swept sage brush flats one drifts back in time and can almost hear the
throaty rumble of a Lockheed's radial engines as the plane sweeps in for a landing or takeoff.
The airstrip was once called the "Verde Valley Airport" see newspaper account of the
dedication which was attended by Jack Frye and his TWA Lockheed Jr. 12A (October 25, 1941).
Lockheed Lodestar- After Jack Frye Resigned
In the February 1947 TWA corporate papers indicate they desired to sell the NC33604 Lodestar,
this coincided with Frye’s resignation. However, further investigation shows that the F.A.A.
does not show the corporate plane was re-registered until 1954. This when it was purchased as a
company plane by Morton Salt C.E.O. Daniel Peterkin. (See Page 1954 & 1963). Seemingly,
though, this “gap” in registration may be solved. It is rumored that Howard Hughes bought the
plane from TWA in 1947. This may explain the "floating" registration for 8 years as Howard
was notorious for such ownership snafus- many times he neglected to register planes. More
details are learned when perusing the papers from the Hughes-Brewster Senate Hearings of the
time frame. A TWA captain by the name of (M. E.) Ed Bell was a pilot of the Lodestar for Frye
at the end of Frye’s tenure with TWA. After Frye left TWA Bell continued to pilot the Lodestar
for Howard Hughes, who it appears, then borrowed or purchased the plane from TWA.
The acquisition of the Lockheed Lodestar and Electra airliners as executive planes was a TWA
first. Obviously, as directly associated with "who" Jack Frye was and "his value" to
Transcontinental & Western Air. Perhaps also his close association with Howard Hughes was a
consideration. Jack Frye was the only executive offered the exclusive use of a TWA private
plane during the 1930’s and 1940’s. From the inception of TWA it was commonly stated in the
press an association of Jack Frye with specific planes, to include the Lockheed Vega NC624E,
Northrop Gamma(s) (2D NR13757 and NX13758), by 1940, the Lockheed Electra 12A NC18137,
and lastly, the Lockheed Lodestar 18 NC33604. No other TWA executive from this early time
frame has ever been linked to a 'private plane' with TWA markings. I have not researched
whether any other president, after Jack Frye, ever had his own TWA plane. When Jack left
TWA in spring of 1947 he continued to travel on TWA and in private transports. It is assumed
that one of these was an executive plane provided as a perk by General Aniline and Film Corp.
(ANSCO). It is documented that Frye was provided a chauffeured limousine throughout his
years as President and CEO of GAF in N.Y.C. At the end of Frye's life he flew a Helio Courier.
Original TWA Lodestar
Work Order & Paint Codes
The above (3-15-1945) Lockheed factory work-order with paint call-outs was for Jack Frye’s
personal TWA Lockheed Lodestar NC33604. We have Tim Rathbone to thank for generously
sharing them for historical sake. Mr. Rathbone worked for Lockheed about 25 years ago and
came across the Burbank sketches after his superiors had requested a spring cleaning.
Unfortunately, Lockheed did not have a venue for preserving the discarded paper work from
which the Lodestar work order was found. It is a miracle, after 60-years, that these documents
can be shared here- the only historical venue dedicated to the preservation of this famous
Lockheed Lodestar NC33604. Many thanks to Tim and his friends for having the insight to one,
recognize a valuable historical document, and secondly, to make sure it was preserved!
The NC33604 Lockheed paint shop work order is a treasure of information. By clicking on the
images above one can learn exactly what lettering was required by Frye down to the actual color
codes! The Transcontinental & Western Air signature color "TWA Red" was developed by no
other than Jack Frye himself. No TWA plane was emblazoned with just any old shade of red,
they were all painted with "Sherwin Williams Vermillion Lacquer #32092". (This per an obscure
1942 Frye profile documenting Jack's attention to the 'perfect shade' of red for his TWA fleet!)
As notated on the above work order Jack requested a TWA Arrow painted on the front cargo
door. The image (above) shows a similar arrow except that on the Lodestar, the arrow pointed to
the front and the wording was not added. On Jack's Lockheed Electra 12A NC18137, the nose
insignia was different, matching the fleet logos of the day. The above logo was used mid-1930's.
Jack and Helen Frye are seen to the left, at home in
Washington D.C. (the Doubleday Mansion) Arlington,
Virginia. The Frye’s called this 30-some room, 70 acre
estate, 'Hillcrest Farm'. The address then @ 2301 North
Uhle Street, now changed to 2145 North 24th Street,
Arlington, VA., was a noted power center for the
Democratic Party in the 1940's. Some of the party's most
influential men (to include Harry S. Truman) frequented
the mansion as guests of Jack Frye (one of the party's
most powerful members). It has been said Jack Frye was
even asked to run for President of the United States in
the late 1940's. TWA Image
The WavFile you hear on this page is from a Lockheed
Lodestar promo film which is in public domain and holds
no copyright restrictions.
'It Takes a Lockheed to Beat a Lockheed!'
TWA Lodestar Flights as Found in Media
May 19, 1946
On one of their frequent cross country flights in their private Lockheed Lodestar, Jack and
Helen Frye board passenger, Baroness Garnett Stackelberg on a flight from Washington D.C.
to Los Angeles. Reporters awaited the group as they deplaned in Los Angeles, the Fryes were
always fodder for the newspapers, and the Baroness was Washington Royalty and a D.C. insider.
The Baroness was recently voted Washington's "Most Beautiful Woman of the Week". Harriet
Appelwick would have manned this flight as the Frye Lodestar hostess.
Refuse Mercy Flight
(Source) TWA Starliner Magazine (June 2, 1946)
Because of the contagious nature of infantile paralysis, health authorities prohibited the flight
to take Leonard Kimball’s son (10-year-old Claude Kimball of 4258 Shadyglade Ave, North
Hollywood, CA.), stricken with the disease, to Sister Kenny Foundation in Minneapolis. Jack
Frye had sent his private plane, a (14-passenger) Lockheed Lodestar, from ABQ to LA for the
flight. The son of the TWA News Bureau head is now in a Los Angeles hospital. (The boy’s
mother Louetta Kimball, a trained nurse and Leonard were to accompany the stricken child on
a 2000-mile mercy flight from Burbank to Minneapolis, departure would have been after the
Frye Lodestar landed in Los Angeles.) The pilots Frye appointed for this trip are unknown.
This event was published by media sources and these details show in parenthesis above.
Research shows the Mr. and Mrs. Frye were in New Mexico and Arizona at the beginning of
June and this is why their private plane was at the TWA ABQ terminal awaiting their return
back east. Kimball was the Publicity Director for Trans World Airline.
Hughes Wrecks Another Plane
Jack’s Lodestar was in the air constantly on TWA business combined with any mini-vacation
the Fryes could squeeze into Jack’s TWA schedule. One of the next significant flights was the
emergency departure of Jack Frye, ABQ to Burbank, July 8th, 1946, after Hughes' near fatal
accident at Beverly Hills, CA. (July 7th, 1946) Jack stayed with Hughes at the hospital for 24-
hours straight. After Howard stabilized Jack returned east on NC33604. Media sources covered
Frye at Beverly Hills, describing him as a principle stockholder and head of Transcontinental
and Western Air. Personally, I would never go up in a plane with Hughes but would with Frye in
a second. Frye was a better pilot and more responsible. I liked Hughes as a person but I feel he
was dangerous in the air.
One point about this needless accident need be stated, Jack dropped everything, cleared his
schedule, and rushed to Howard's side at Los Angeles. This is the kind of loyal friend Frye was.
It is too bad Howard showed so little loyalty to Frye seven months later when Hughes allowed
Noah Dietrich to force Frye out of TWA (February of 1947). Three important events gave
Dietrich (who always resented Frye) the leverage he needed to oust Frye. None of them had
anything to do with Frye's management of the airline. The Lockheed Constellation NC86513
crash at Reading, PA., the subsequent grounding of all Constellation airliners by C.A.B. the
Civil Aeronautics Board (which in turn crippled TWA), and the pilot's strike at TWA (late 1946).
Let alone, that after the accident, Hughes was doped up and easily influenced and manipulated.
For further insights see the bottom of Page 1959, as told by aviation author Robert Serling.
TWA Pilot Union Strike
October 31, 1946
Shortly after 12 p.m., President of TWA Jack Frye arrived at La Guardia Airport with his wife,
the former Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr., in his own private plane, a Lockheed Lodestar 18.
Other passengers were not noted. Before reporters could reach the Frye party they were
whisked off to N.Y.C. by limo. (Please note- The V.I.P. Hostess on board this flight would have
been Harriet Appelwick.) This flight was connected with the famous TWA pilot strike. Frye
departed shortly after, on November 2, for Washington D.C.
The famous Frye TWA Lodestar seen (above) was featured on a TWA Postcard in 1945. This
image was submitted by aviation enthusiast TWA historian and former employee Patrick
Chateau of the TWA Roissy CDG Website. The paint scheme however was short-lived as Jack
ordered the Lodestar painted with 'Trans World Airline' within a year after purchase (late
1945). Notice on the center fuselage the stenciling 'Flight Research Laboratory'. All Frye's
planes were marked in this manner as they were combo flight research executive planes.
According to TWA 'copy of the day' Frye used this plane for private/business and flight research
(which included testing radios, wing flaps, and automatic pilot systems). Howard Hughes
borrowed the plane on several occasions (as discussed in the Brewster Senate hearings).
Jack's Birthday (March 18, 1945) Doubleday Mansion -Wash. D.C.
From an obscure aviation article covering the National Aviation Clinic of 1945- (Excerpt)
The importance of a private aircraft to the industry executive as a personal means of
transportation was demonstrated last week to a small group of aviation writers who were guests
of Jack Frye, TWA president, in a flight from Washington to Oklahoma City, to the National
Aviation Clinic, in his Lockheed Lodestar transport which the company has assigned for his
personal transportation. While not every big executive would have service and maintenance
facilities of a major airline at his disposal, it is probable that there are several C.E.O.’s with
similar aircraft support facilities across the country….
Continuation in part…. Luxury is the keynote of present air travel. Evidence of the importance
some airlines place on service is a statement by Jack Frye, president of Transcontinental &
Western Airlines, “I am convinced that we cannot now, if ever, lower our standards of service.
Quality service built up our business and is necessary to maintain our customer loyalty.” Mr.
Frye went on to state that mass transportation by air was a matter of fifteen or more years.
(Most people are not aware that Jack Frye was not only a top notch airline executive but a
noted statesman as well. He was constantly sought after for his speeches which often included
his insights on commercial aviation).
For almost 10 years Jack Frye was married to Helen Varner Frye of Sedona, who remembers
him as a "remarkable man, brilliant, and ingenious". The two met while Frye and Howard
Hughes were building their first Constellation in Los Angeles and were married in Scottsdale
Arizona, January 1941. During their life together in Sedona, Mrs. Frye said, "all commuting to
their ranch home near Flagstaff (Sedona) and most of their travel around the country was made
by air in their private plane." (The transports she was referring to were the modified to
4-passenger Lockheed Electra 12A, and later in 1945 the larger Lockheed 18 luxury liner).
There is documented reference to discussion by the TWA Executive Committee about the then
TWA executive planes. A quote from a January 25, 1947 meeting is notated below. Jack Frye
was in attendance as a member of the Executive Committee but did not vote on the action. He
was still at this time president of TWA, his resignation (retirement) planned, but not yet
Quote from the minutes:
Resolved, that the company's B-17, and Lockheed Lodestar planes be, and they are, hereby
grounded until further action by the Committee.
Notations- Most certainly a declaration by TWA that the Lodestar, at least, was a direct
association with Jack Frye and not a general perk for other current or future executives. Also,
it must be stated, that TWA was forced to cut as much operational cost as possible in regard to
the astronomical cost of opening up the new TWA Trans-World service. The B-17 was sold to the
Shaw of Iran. Information on this transaction is directly below. Any association Jack had with
the B-17 (except initially) is not known at this time. It was not considered a 'presidential' plane
but rather a 'company' plane which was never used for scheduled TWA passenger service.
Of further interest in regard to TWA executive planes during the Jack Frye era is one more
rather unusual plane. This being the TWA B-17G, U.S.A.A.F. number 44-85728, purchased
during Jack's presidency at the end of the war. The plane was renovated at Boeing in Seattle to
serve as a TWA executive plane. (It is said Jack Frye personally spearheaded the acquisition
and refitting.) The plane was not for state-side use. Designated model 299AB, C/N 8637,
registration number NX4600, (later as NL1B), the plane might well have been flown by Jack
Frye a few times but was never used as an executive transport in the United States. Jack’s
Lodestar was utilized exclusively stateside and in South America. The NX B-17 christened 'Two
Kind Words' was delegated, more so, as a TWA management transport and utilized overseas as
a diplomatic envoy establishing TWA's Trans-World air service. It was flown in the Middle East
setting up TWA routes and service hubs. By 1947 (around the time Jack Frye resigned from
TWA) the plane was sold to the Shaw of Iran who utilized it for many years. The registration
numbers at this point changed to EP-HIM, which signified 'His Imperial Majesty'. Some say the
plane was transferred to the Shaw of Iran (with TWA flight crews) as a goodwill gift for a TWA
route agreement with the Shaw. By 1970 the plane was cut up and parted-out in France.
Frye Flies Guests to Oklahoma City on his Lockheed Lodestar
1945 National Aviation Clinic-
November 19, 1945
TWA Executive Committee Discusses the TWA Lodestar- 1947
TWA B-17G NX4600 C/N 8637
TWA Overseas Management Transport
Christened- 'Two Kind Words'
Media Article Jack Frye's Death (1959) Interview With Helen Frye
Additional Ownership Documentation On N33604 Continues-
Page 1954 (Daniel Peterkin Morton Salt Corp.)
Page 1963 (Herb Garrett American General Insurance)
Ghost Ship- The Last Known Photo of TWA NC33604
The last known image of the former TWA
Lodestar appears (left). Lockheed Lodestar
Model 18, N33604, C/N 2170. The origin of the
image aside is unknown but it was at one time
in the collection of the photo vault of Military
Aircraft Photographs (M.A.P.). It then
transferred to Michael Zoeller, London,
webmaster for (Burbank’s Best- Lockheed
Twins Website) who graciously shared the
photo with this work. It appears as a courtesy.
Another great research tool is:
Peter J. Marson’s “Lockheed Twins”.
The plane shows a tired, faded, ghostly appearance, as captured in 1977, certainly, a far cry
from its glory years with TWA. What happened to this famous transport? A mystery! Virtually
unrecognizable, sans the elongated (Learstar conversion nose) and reg. number. The location is
thought to be Fort Lauderdale Airport. At this date the Lodestar was owned by the Cardway
Corporation of Chicago. The colors are a reflection of those popular in the 1970's; copper earth
tones and white. Gone is the polished to a mirror aluminum finish and bright red TWA
markings which adorned the plane when it transported Jack and Helen Frye, Howard Hughes,
with its passenger list of White House members and a variety of celebrities. What became of
the last owner the Cardway Corporation? They appear to have become as elusive as the plane's
current condition and location, along with the plane both have vanished!
From Former Executive Pilot of the Plane (2006)
Former American General executive pilot (N33604) Herb Garrett stated to me that many years
ago (after AIG sold the plane) he had heard the Lodestar ended up wrecked on a Florida beach.
The circumstances, sadly, are what I had suspected, it had likely been stolen and was being used
by drug runners. They got hemmed in by weather and set it down on a lonely strip of sand.
There the plane was abandoned and never heard from again. Likely, it was cut up and scrapped.
The End? Unfortunately it appears so; however, the plane may exist out there somewhere as a
derelict at some forgotten airfield, unrecognized for the treasure it is. What a sad ending to a
proud old girl who should have been restored to live on in posterity as a Frye TWA icon.
Lockheed Lodestar NC33604, serial number 2170. Manufacture date May 4, 1942. Converted to
18-01/C-56D-LO for U.S.A.A.F., as registration number 42-57224. Likely used as an officer
transport, it was sent to Bolling Field, Washington D.C., on June 11 1942. On June 25 1942 to
MAD, then back to Bolling on June 27 1942. To Geiger A.F.B. (Spokane WA.) July 16 1942.
Memphis AFB, February 11 1943. Gravely Point WA. June 11, 1943.
By July 29 1943, the Lodestar was in Washington D.C., (back at Bolling)? On December 27
1944, the Lodestar was transferred to R.F.C. (Reconstruction Finance Corporation) and
processed to civilian sale and use.
F.A.A. Registration now as NC33604, transfer to D.P.C. (Defense Plant Corporation) and sold to
Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc. (Jack Frye) to be used as Flight Research Laboratory and
executive transport as assigned TWA Fleet Number #241. The Lodestar was never used for
regular scheduled passenger service by TWA.
The next sale of the Lodestar shows as April of 1954 to Daniel Peterkin Jr, longtime executive
of Morton Salt Corporation, (father a founder) both presidents. Peterkin was also president and
co-founder of Howard Aircraft Corporation, with his friend, Benny Howard, (per his daughter
The Lodestar was sold to American General Insurance Corporation in June of 1963. Later,
transferred to Alex W. Head by February 1970.
In January 1974 it was transferred to C. Norris Byran, and by January of 1977, it was owned by
the Cardway Corporation, and ended up with Bush Aviation Incorporated.
It was sold to Warren Walder by June of 1977 and then sold to B. and H. Industries
Incorporated, May 17 1978. Plane resided at Fort Lauderdale Florida from July 1976 to October
In August 1982 the plane was canceled from the FAA Civil Air Registration database.
Tragically, many old and neglected Lodestars were used by drug runners eventually ending up
ditched in the Everglades, Caribbean, Bermuda Triangle, or worse yet, perhaps, South America.
Perfect example: A mystery Lockheed Lodestar 18 landed on a road and was set on fire by drug
smugglers near Hastings Florida on July 19 1978. The registration number not verified, this
Lodestar died a lonely anonymous death. Let's hope this plane is not our famous and proud
V.I.P. executive airliner NC33604 which now has been lost to time.
From the Lockheed expert Rene' J. Francillon "Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913", we find
references to the Lockheed Electra NC18137 and the Lockheed Lodestar NC33604. Specifically,
the author writes, "In spite of having won the competition, the Electra Jr. had limited success
as a feeder-airliner, with only six of the ninety Wasp Jr. SB powered Model 12-A’s (including
the prototype) being acquired by US airlines, while c/n 1236 went to Associated Airlines Pty in
Australia. One of the six US-registered feeder-liners, which as NC18137 (c/n 1229), had been
delivered in August 1937, to Varney Air Transport, and was later used briefly by TWA as a high-
altitude and weather research aircraft, until replaced by a Lockheed 18. Two other model 12A’s
were acquired by British Airways, but as detailed later, this airline purchase was a front for the
activities of Sidney Cotton." Please note: Varney Air Transport became Continental Airlines in
1937. Mr. Francillon continues to detail background information of TWA's 1942 Lockheed
Lodestar. "C-60-LO: Thirty-six Model 18-56's were impressed and powered by 1,200 hp Wright
R-1820-87s, and were assigned serials 41-29633/41-29647, 42-32166/42-32180 and 42-108787/42-
108792. Lend-lease transfers to the RAF as Lodestar Mk. II's, accounted for the first sixteen
machines (EW983/EW997 and FK246), but fourteen additional aircraft, for which serials
FK247/FK260 were reserved, were retained by the USAAF, as were the last six C-60-LO's. One
aircraft, (c/n 18-2170, 42-108971) went to TWA as NC33604 to serve as a flight-research
laboratory and executive transport." Please note: I have found another source that shows the
NC 33604 was originally 42-108791. Likely this source accidentally reversed the numbers.
F.A.A. Ownership Documentation of the TWA Lodestar
TWA Lockheed Lodestar NC33604 V.I.P. Flight
Distinguished Members of the Roosevelt Administration
Washington National Airport
This image was taken at the deplaning of a flight with Jack and Helen Frye. The aircraft shown
is TWA Lockheed Lodestar NC33604. Location was likely Washington D.C. (Washington
National Airport). The circumstances are not known but it is thought this flight was in
connection with a Democratic junket (vacation) the Fryes took to Florida with Robert Hannegan
(Chairman of the Democratic National Committee) and his wife Irma. The passengers shown
are some of the most politically connected of the Roosevelt administration. Jack too was one of
the most powerful men of the Democratic Party in the 1940's and 1950’s (Roosevelt and
Truman administrations). The Lodestar could board 14 passengers with 3 crew members (1945).
The image (above) was originally a Reni News Photo but it is appears the copyright has not been
updated and renewed to our current time frame of 2016. Therefore the image is displayed in
accordance with fair use practice and thought to be 'public domain'. The image is displayed as
historically significant and in a manner which does not generate profit. Any infringement on
the copyright of said is not intentional. On file at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library.
Truman Library image(s) hold specialized copyrights & usage fees - paid by Sedona Legend.
April 18, 1945
TWA was host to royalty when His Royal
Highness, Emir Abdul, regent and heir
apparent of Iraq, visited the main operations
base in Kansas City. The regent was returning
home from the San Francisco conference and
spent the day as the guest of the airline. John
Collings, transportation vice president, is
shown with looking on, while the Regent greets
the Rev. Samuel S. Isa, a Presbyterian
minister in Kansas City, and a native of Iraq.
(Source TWA Starliner Magazine) Please click
on image for larger file. Please note- the TWA
corporate Lodestar NC33604 is shown behind
the men. This plane (in service with TWA for
just three years with Frye) is extremely hard to
Frye Lodestar Transports Royalty
locate in photos of the day. The plane (right) can be identified by comparing it to the Lodestar
photo which follows below (matching the logo and windows). The photo shows the original paint
scheme which Frye had altered by late 1945 to display "Trans World Airline".
Here’s a takeoff shot of the TWA 'Sky-Lab'
experimental DC-3 being flown by the airline
to further all-weather and instrument flying
techniques. The ship now carries a radar set
(bulge midway back under the fuselage is the
'radome' of the set) and arrangements have
been made to equip it soon with an electronic
autopilot, and automatic instrument landing
device, and a new type electronically-heated
windshield. (Source- TWA Starliner Magazine,
June 20, 1946). Note: It is my contention that
this plane filled the void left by the Lodestar
being used more and more frequently by Frye
for TWA business. Frye's plane bore the
lettering 'Flight Research Laboratory'.
TWA’s New Overweather Laboratory (1946)
TWA DC3 NX51165 TWA Fleet Number 324 C/N 7386
DC3 (former U.S.A.A.F. C-47 DL 42-5692) C/N 7386
Harriet Appelwick- V.I.P TWA Lodestar Hostess
The images above were purchased from the Truman Library for my work. Truman Library
image(s) hold specialized copyrights & usage fees - paid by Sedona Legend. All images are
captioned (please click for enlargement to read). The image (right) Bob Hannegan, President
Harry Truman, and Gael Sullivan exam postage stamps (honoring FDR) at the White House.
(Bob was the Postmaster General in the 'Miracle on 34th Street' who declared Kris Kringle the
real Santa Claus.) In 1947, Hannegan purchased the St. Louis Cardinals, he died soon after in
1949, at age 46. Sullivan was Assistant Postmaster General and later head of the Democratic
Party. (Photographer Abbie Rowe - Public Domain- 01-30-1946) We were once a great nation
lead by men of great vision, true leaders, the eyes of the world followed us admiration.