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
Burdett Airport 1922-1924
Western Avenue and 104th Street Los Angeles
The "Glory Days" of West Coast Aviation
This page is dedicated to June Smith (Joseph S. Smith, Jr.) June nickname for Junior. Without
June's knack for having a camera constantly handy we would be missing the invaluable historic
images on this page. Seen above is Jack Frye (left) with June Smith at Burdett Airport in 1924.
The bi-plane is a Curtiss K6 Standard. It is not known if the plane belonged to Frye or Smith.
Those Brave Young Aviators
of Burdett Airport
Incredibly many were just boys @ barely 18 -yet these "boys" were
to become some of the most revered aviation dynamos of our country.
Following are just a few of these Pioneers of Aviation!
Joseph 'June' S. Smith Jr. (April 23, 1905 - January 14, 1957) seen above in 1926 dressed in an
unidentified flight uniform (either Standard Air Lines, Western Air Express, or Maddox or
military). His scrapbook memorabilia was the inspiration for pages 1924-25-26.
Burdett took June Smith (age 19) for his first
flight (August 19, 1924). Then Jack Frye
taught June how to fly starting September 9,
1924. Frye was only 20 years old at the time.
June Smith- Pilot and Flight Instructor- Pal
An incredibly poignant portrait of a man and his machine- June Smith in the cockpit high above
Los Angeles from a time long gone and an era never ever to be recaptured. Likely
photographed by Jack Frye (1924) during June's flight instruction lessons at Burdett Air Field.
Jack Frye in flight above Los Angeles (1924). A consummate aviator in every sense of the word,
Jack Frye became a legend in his own time and beyond. The two images above could easily be
clips taken from Howard Hughes' "Hell's Angels", a film Frye actually flew in as a Hollywood
stunt pilot. This photo was likely taken by June Smith, notice the similarity of the two images
and poses. Photo is signed by Jack- "To my friend June- From Jack Frye." This the earliest
known photo of aviation legend Jack Frye in an airplane.
Burdett Airport from 1924 on- at left, visitors and admirers of the aviators of Burdett Field,
Lillian, Martha and Gladys. On the right is June Smith with Lillian.
Burdett Fuller with June's sister Zelda Smith (left). On the right is June in his plane taking
Lillian (also seen on Page 1925) for a flight over Los Angeles. Notice "June Smith Pilot" is
stenciled on the side of the plane. This was typical for early California aviators.
Below, Burdett Airport in 1924 when owned by
Frye and Fuller, followed by June Smith's
Burdett Airport business card.
Above left to right is June Smith, Gladys, Zelda Smith, Jack Frye. Location is Burdett Airport.
Please click on any images to see larger files
Jack Frye- A Bona fide Aviation Legend
Celebration of Flight
Forgotten- Frozen Moments on Film
Above is shown a U.S. Mail plane with director's chair, camera and megaphone. Images are
from 1924- possibly "The Airmail" released by Paramount in '25. Movie crews were regular
visitors to Burdett and surrounding air fields. "Action- Roll The Cameras!" German Shepherds
were quite common canine actors in the 1920's. Notice the dog sniffing a man on the wing, pilot
is sitting below. The dog is likely Peter the Great, a Rin Tin Tin 'like' movie canine, who is
known to have worked with the 13 Black Cats. Image shows "ground shots" of aerial sequences.
Burdett Airport of Aviation- Always Booked
Records show that Burdett Airport School of Aviation was quite busy in August of 1924. At least
this is the date I think an undated report I have is from. This in regard to some of the names
on it and when the names became pilots.
Graduating students of the school were: Los Angeles residents; Roy Ambler, W. E. (William)
Matlock; Fred L. Hattoom (often mis-spelled Hattoon) of Hollywood; A. W. Calles of Monterey
Park and Paul E. Richter of Denver, Colorado.
New students starting lessons (from California) were Los Angeles residents; Ray Halsenbeck,
Jack Harri, J. W. Van Duessen, G. E. Cox, Ken Hirose, Leonard “Dinty” Moore, Don Rogers,
and Leo Babin. Others, were R. E. Jaycox of Santa Paula, F. Thomas of Pasadena, L. B. Butt of
Taft, and N. (Nelson) Paul Whittier of Beverly Hills.
Don Frye and T. M. Kelly (former graduates) were recent visitors the airport. Kelly has recently
taken charge of the new Burdett repair facility at 61st and Manhattan (1/2 block off Western).
The new shop handles complete wing fabric restoration, quite an art, and is open to visitors.
The Fertile Mind of an Aviator
Burdett Airport in about 1924-1925. I have
often wondered if the vehicle in front of the
Burdett Airport flight office (with logo on the
spare tire) was Jack Frye’s car. But
unfortunately the writing is not distinct
enough on the tire cover to read. Jack’s
daughter has a photo I have yet to see which
shows he and his wife and others by a similar
car in front of the Frye bungalow (home) at
Los Angeles (same time frame). Nev told me
that this car, which was Jack’s, had a spare
tire with 'Burdett Airport' stenciled on it.
In mid-May 1925 21-year old Jack Frye took delivery of a new Maxwell Club Coupe, noted for
its efficient 4-cylinder engine and sporting comfort. It seems, Frye was somewhat brand loyal,
as this was the second Maxwell he owned from a early period of his life. The first was a 1923 or
24 Maxwell Sport Touring car. L.A. Newspapers ran a photo of Frye with his new car as sold to
him by Mr. Conan Doyle of Union Motors (Southern California’s Maxwell Dealer). On the
Maxwell one can see a spare tire with a logo painted on it. Frye traded his original Maxwell in
and it was noted to be in mint condition even though it had been driven a lot.
The reason I mention this is that several years later Jack Frye invented the first automatic
aircraft washing system at 99th and Western Avenue in Los Angeles. This aircraft wash rack
which Jack installed at Aero Corporation Field was thought to be the first ever in the world.
Certainly it was the first in the Western United States. Frye, an avid pilot and inventor held
many patents. He derived the auto-plane-wash idea from motoring around L.A. and seeing the
new (at the time) automatic car washes. After having his own motorcar washed at one of the
new 15-minute car rack washes he got the idea to implement a similar procedure to wash aero
planes at his airfield.
Frye’s plane wash was set up as a 'customer service enhancement' Aero being one of the
busiest early Southern California Airports. Not unlike modern automobile dealerships who
offer service and a wash while you wait in a waiting room, Jack Frye’s amenity was “pull your
plane up to the plane-wash, go to our field's lunchroom (small diner) and have a sandwich and
coffee, while you are waiting. In no time at all retrieve your ship which has been completely
cleaned and spiffed up for you!” It was Frye Innovations like this (just one of many) which
contributed to the success of Standard Air Lines and later TWA. The invention ran in the L.A.
Times on November 17, 1928. I wish I could use media materials (photos) on the website but
obtaining permission to republish such copyrighted materials is quite complicated. However, I
can tell you that the photo shows a biplane tail number J496? pulled up to a dual scaffolding
with 2 attendants scrubbing away on the plane at the location of Aero Corporation Field.
For some time I have searched for an identifiable photo of Jack Frye's very first plane which
was a Curtiss Jenny. In the 1920's all pilots had their names painted under the cockpit of their
personal planes. This was more so for publicity as all these pilots were 'for hire'. I have
identified Jack's plane many times but never have I seen the lettering. Above, as found in the
background of a photo of Burdett Fuller at Burdet Airport (seen on Page 1925), I spied a plane
that satisfied my search. After much scrutiny, in bold lettering under the cockpit of this Jenny
it is revealed- "Jack Frye- Pilot". Yes folks this is Jack Frye's very first personal-work plane!
On this page you will find a unique window into the Burdett Aerodrome operation found no
where else in the world. Images found in an old album never seen by the public until now, all
displayed for the sole purpose of bringing to life the glorious beginnings of west coast aviation.
Occasionally, I am offered such historic materials; however, many times these materials are
offered with uncomfortable strings. Refreshingly, the Smith archive has been offered to Sedona
Legend just to get it "out there" with no shading or agenda. Gracious thanks to Denis Smith for
his insight and efforts!
The showcase is oriented around Jack Frye's association with Burdett Airport, as before he
came on the scene in 1922-1923, Burdett Field was just another dusty Los Angeles landing strip,
initially just an empty lot. Although Burdett Fuller founded the air field, I daresay, he himself
would agree it was Jack Frye’s association which launched it to stellar heights. After meeting
Frye, Burdett almost immediately offered him a 50/50 partnership. Why? Because he recognized
in Jack a successful drive toward the development and future of aviation. Certainly, one of the
smartest moves Fuller ever made, to be sure. The Burdett-Frye partnership is legendary and
the aviation school borne at this time on Western Avenue at Los Angeles (Inglewood) became
the West Coast’s finest!
With great men there comes great change, for it is these men of vision, charisma, and
perseverance who are the catalysts who change our world. Burdett Airport is remembered as a
shining example of all things stellar regarding the west coast's immersion into an exciting new
world of aviation. Because of this accomplishment the imprint of this flight operation has
reached historic heights in the collective aviation memory of our country. Jack Frye was the
hub at which this wheel of accomplishment spun. Not only did the experience enable him to
branch into numerous related ventures and associations, but in time he became the most
valuable founding force of Aero Corporation, Standard Air Lines, and T.W.A., not to mention
his association with Western Air Express. Great men gravitated toward him and monumental
milestones were accomplished. With the essence of a true visionary and entrepreneur Jack Frye
affected the lives of millions of people. Yet, in barely 50-years, he was gone from our planet.
Thankfully, though, his legacy of flight will continue for an eternity!
The person responsible for this archive is an energetic young aviator named June Smith. This
pilot, in his early to mid-twenties, through a close association with Frye and Fuller, captured
some of the earliest images which exist of this era (1924-1929). June flew with the men of
Burdett Field, worked along side them and socialized with them. In time, he came to know a
young Paul Richter, as well, (this after Richter came to be associated with Fuller and Frye in
'25). It was Frye and Fuller who taught June how to fly (September of 1924). Later, by 1925,
Frye also taught Aero and T.W.A. founders Richter and Walt Hamilton to fly too. By 1927, June
was working for Standard Air Lines, and eventually, by 1929, he took the position as manager
and Chief Pilot for the Golden Eagle School of Aeronautics, at Glendale Arizona.