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
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
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 Corp. & 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.
Standard Air Lines Milestones
November 28 & 29 1927- Aero Corporation of California (Standard Air Lines)
established first round-trip scheduled passenger air service between
Los Angeles-Phoenix-Tucson (with Jack Frye as president-pilot).
February 4, 1929- Standard Air Lines (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 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".
This page is about beginnings and the making of airline history! It chronicles the
accomplishments of a small airline run by a 23-year-old man who was inspired by a dream, a
driving force, which changed the future of modern passenger air service. This first airline was
Standard Air Lines. The man who launched the first transcontinental air service and (later with
TWA) transatlantic passenger service, and trans-world passenger service, became one of
aviation’s most recognized and respected visionary entrepreneurs- his name was Jack Frye.
Standard Air Lines Inaugurates
New Luxury Fokker Tri-Motor Service
Jack Frye and his first wife Debbie D. Greer are shown (above) August 4, 1929 at the
inauguration of the first Fokker tri-motor luxury passenger airliner service for Standard Air
Lines' California-Arizona-Texas route. Provenance is unknown for this image which has been
on Sedona Legend for many years but it is thought to also be on file at the Arizona Historic
Society (not verified). Photo was likely taken at Tucson Arizona. On the same date Standard
also added Douglas Arizona and El Paso Texas to its service route. Three new planes were put
into service on this hot summer day, christened as the Californian, Arizonan, and Texan. Two
years earlier, on November 28, 1927, Aero Corporation of California (Standard) launched the
first westbound passenger service- Los Angeles-Phoenix-Tucson. Jack Frye served as president
of both companies, and was also a founder, along with Walter A. Hamilton and Paul E. Richter.
Frye was pilot of the Nov. 28, 1927 inaugural single engine Fokker flight. For more detailed
information about Jack and Debbie Frye please see Page 1933.
In the photo (above) from August 4, 1929 we see 7th from left Standard Air Lines president and
likely pilot of this flight William John 'Jack' Frye (with the devilish grin on his face), 5th from
left is famous Black Cat member aviatrix Gladys Ingle, 5th from right is Jack Frye's wife
Debbie Greer Frye. The two women (center) are Hollywood motion picture actress Priscilla Dean
(right) and Miss Emma Cuaron (Miss El Paso-Juarez) white dress (left).
Jack often wore a fedora. I was excited to find
an ad with him modeling a hat made especially
for him (seen to the left) in '28. Since finding
the ad I have searched for actual photos of
him wearing the "Aviator" hat. Finally, as
(seen below), and inset, I think we have a
close match. The dark band is wider on Jack's
hat, but otherwise, I am convinced it is the
same design. (It was typical for fedora owners
to use a band of their own choosing). Jack was
a snappy dresser and all through his career he
represented his companies flawlessly with his
tailored suits and polished appearance.
A gracious thank you to Burt Cosgrove of Albuquerque N.M. for the above images and
background information. I met with Judge Cosgrove (retired) at the home of Frye friend Rosie
Targhetta Armijo. Mr. Cosgrove's father (C. B. (Cornelius) Cosgrove, Jr.) was the manager of
the Tucson Municipal Airport (1928-1932) and witnessed the inaugural event above. The photos
were obtained by Cornelius at that time frame and kept as a part of his career memoirs.
Eventually, they passed to his son (Burt Cosgrove). Please see the Cosgrove page of the Davis
Monthan Air Field Registry Website.
Jack's "Aviator" hat (right). For a larger view
please see top of this page. Jack often sported
a double breasted suit and always tie and hat.
Attire of an Aviation Executive- GQ Style!
Dedicated To The Only Man In Aviation History
Whose Name Is Synonymous With T.W.A. (Jack Frye)
The dedication of triple-motored luxury Fokker airline service was celebrated Sunday morning,
August 4, 1929, at the Aero Corporation Field @ Los Angeles, and “along the way” of the
Standard Air Lines route, between Los Angeles and El Paso Texas. Additionally, celebrations
were held at Phoenix, Casa Grande, Tucson, and Douglas. These events were said to have been,
for that time, one of the largest events in history for these communities. The 3 new Standard
transports entered into service on the 800-mile Standard Air Lines route were able to reduce
the flight times by approximately 1 hour for this carrier.
According to media reports all three planes were simultaneously christened at 8:00 A.M.
Miss Virginia Thom, a member of one of L.A.’s oldest pioneer families christened one Fokker,
“the Californian” at Los Angeles, Miss Ruth Phillips, daughter of Arizona Governor, John C.
Phillips christened another Fokker "the Arizonan" at Phoenix Sky Harbor in Arizona. The
third plane "the Texan" was christened at El Paso (supposedly) by celebrity Pricilla Dean.
However, this fact is disputed by me because Miss Dean is shown in an image at the christening
Sunday morning at Los Angeles. You would think Miss El Paso-Juarez christened "the Texan”
at El Paso, but she too was seen that morning at the Los Angeles christening. Perhaps it is in
error that "the Texan" was christened at El Paso and it was instead christened at Sky Harbor.
The following celebrities were on hand for the dedication ceremonies at select cities on
August 4, 1929. Many were also V.I.P. passengers traveling to the various cities on the route
hosting events along the way. In Los Angeles the following guests started the dedication events-
Miss Virginia Thom, Los Angeles Mayor John C. Porter, Arizona Gazette reporter Miss Clara
Ott, beauty queen Miss El Paso-Juarez (Miss Emma Cuaron), film star Miss Priscilla Dean, Miss
Ruth Phillips, lady aviator Gladys Ingle, and child star Betty Jean Hainey. Los Angeles
residents, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Frye were the official hosts of the day. Mr. Frye, a transport pilot
was president of Standard Air Lines, and as well, president of its parent company Aero
Corporation of California. Others guests who participated in the event were Arizona Governor
John C. Phillips, Harry O. Steiger, Jack Dean, J. S. Dawley, W. L. Beebe, H. C. Eller, G.
Nuckols, A. W. Poole, F. W. Oakes, Mrs. Paul (Daisy) Richter, and Ernest V. Moore.
A special promo gift provided by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce consisted of 10,000
booklets (in the shape of oranges) which were dropped over cities and airports from L.A. to
El Paso. On the return trip another 10,000 booklets were again air-dropped over communities
over which the planes flew.
The 3 new luxury liners, especially prepared for the event, were a huge hit with the merry
passengers. Each of the new planes were propelled by 3 powerful Pratt and Whitney 425 hp.
Wasp engines giving them easy and comfortable over-flights of the picturesque deserts of the
southwest. The ships were the most advanced airliners available for 1928, as offered by Fokker
Aircraft Corporation. Aero Corporation of California Inc. was the largest West Coast Dealer of
Fokker and their airline fleet showcased only this tried and true (passenger service) brand.
From a note to Jack Frye from Tony Fokker- to paraphrase- "Jack Frye was his first agent
(1926) and his best customer and most admired friend in the transport aviation field." (1938)
This early Los Angeles air line provided efficient and comfortable “Cross-Country” air-rail
passenger service. Starting at Los Angeles, east-coast passengers flew in luxury to El Paso
Texas, where they deplaned and boarded the Texas Pacific Railway. Speeding east, while dining
in comfort, they connected with Southwest Air Fast Express, and later, the New York Central
Railway. After a short 54 hours, they arrived in New York City, refreshed and rested!
All three images above were thought to have been captured at Tucson Municipal Airport (now as
Davis-Monthan A.F.B.) at Tucson Arizona. The plane and its passengers made many landings
and departures on August 4 after originating at Los Angeles. The lady (above) front and center,
is movie starlet Priscilla Dean. Standing in front of the Standard Air Lines Fokker passenger
entry door greeting passengers is Standard Air Lines founder and president Jack Frye. The lady
in white with scarf around her head, (3rd woman) from right, is the famous aviatrix and 13
Hollywood Black Cat member Gladys Ingle. The shortest lady, (5th woman) from right, and to
the immediate right of Priscilla Dean, is the wife of Standard Air Lines president, Mrs. Jack
Frye. Additional passengers who are thought to appear in the above image but unfortunately
are yet to be identified are Harry O. Steiger, Jack Dean, J. S. Dawley, W. L. Beebe, H. C. Eller,
G. Nuckols, A. W. Poole, F. W. Oakes, Mrs. Paul (Daisy) Richter, and Ernest V. Moore.
February 4, 1929
Standard Air Lines Launches First Transcontinental (Coast-to-Coast)
Air-Rail Passenger Service for the United States
The service was officially launched with the normal scheduled departure of a triple engine 14
passenger Standard Air Lines Fokker plane on Monday February 4 at 8:00 A.M. from the Aero
Corporation of California airfield (94th and Western Avenue) at Los Angeles. This was said to
be the largest private airfield on the west coast. Standard previously offered a thrice weekly air
service east, but on this date, service was expanded to daily passenger departures and arrivals.
A return westbound transport left El Paso at 8:00 A.M. and arrived at Los Angeles at 4:30 P.M.
To celebrate the event, an official school holiday was declared in Arizona where crowds greeted
the inaugural plane as it landed and took off from Phoenix, Tucson, and Douglas, on its journey
to Texas. Passengers and freight deplaned after 8 and ½ hours at 5:30 P.M. at El Paso Texas,
which was the eastern most stop on the Standard Air Lines air service route.
Many air lines have tried to claim this milestone throughout the years; however, it is clearly
documented that Standard Air Lines was the first company to dedicate planes for regularly
scheduled service and routing, enabling passengers to depart Los Angeles for New York City
and all points east, daily. Some news sources even state this was the very first “air-rail service”
launched for the entire country (current to that date).
The new service was executed by plane from L.A. to El Paso. At El Paso passengers traveling
through to N.Y.C. boarded the Texas Pacific Railway, later, connecting with the airline
(Southwest Air Fast Express) and finally connecting with the famous New York Central
Railroad to arrive in New York City after just 54 hours. Airline passengers desiring other
connections could depart El Paso, for Kansas City, New Orleans, and St. Louis, among many
Standard handled a large amount of express to and from Los Angeles in addition to its
passenger service, part of which, resulted from an exclusive agreement which enabled Aero
Corporation to handle all United Parcel Express air shipments to and from the Los Angeles-
east and west. Frye stated to the press that 3 new planes would be put into service by March 1,
as the air service had “proved unusually successful for the company”.
Passengers who traveled on the first eastbound Standard Air Lines plane are not known, but
the occupants arriving at Los Angeles on the westbound link are known. The pilot was Hap
Russell, his passengers were John A. Curry (editor of the Douglas Daily Dispatch), Mrs. J. M.
Hixson, Jr., Alice M. Birdsall, B. W. Frank, Frank Jensen (general agent of the Texas and
Pacific Railroad), and El Paso Chamber of Commerce secretary W. R. Collins. At Aero Field,
the above passengers were heartily greeted by the president of Standard Air Lines Jack Frye,
vice-president of the airline Paul E. Richter, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce secretary
Charles E. Cooke, and the director of the Los Angeles Municipal Airport (Mines Field) Cliff
Also it was announced in early February that ex-Postmaster General Frank H. Hitchcock had
been appointed as a director of Standard Air Lines, with other officers and directors being, Jack
Frye as president, Paul E. Richter, Jr. as vice-president, Guy Witter, Robert L. Chambers,
Nathan Newby Sr., Nathan Newby Jr., and Walter A. Hamilton.
February 15, 1929
Standard implemented a consistent and attractive pilot uniform in mid-February with
introduction of a Sahara-like appearance of khaki and gold braid. The outfits of light weight
material were specifically designed for the hot arid conditions of the southwestern deserts.
Company records show Standard pilots for February of 1929 consisted of H. B. Russell, William
Kingsley, Johnnie Martin, Delbert Everett, and H. J. Kelsey.
July 18, 1929
Standard Air Lines vice-president Paul Richter, with president Frye, left Los Angeles for the
Fokker factory in New Jersey, to pick up 2 new transports, to be utilized on the Calif-Texas
Standard route. The deluxe 14-passenger planes, equipped with three 425 hp. Wasp engines,
each, were the latest in Fokker engineering. The airliners were engineered for two pilots but
could be operated by one.
Notable Events for Standard Air Lines in 1929
Sunday Morning- September 15, 1929
The Standard Air Lines “Arizonan” (NC581K) was pulled off the flight line long enough for an
attempt at an altitude record by Jack Frye and Paul Richter, officials of Standard Air Lines,
Inc. With oxygen breathing equipment supplied by the Los Angeles Fire Department, the two
lifted off from the Aero Corporation field to a height over 23,200 feet, soaring over Wrigley
Field, Beverly Hills, and Culver City. The plane was scheduled for passenger service Monday
This record was attempted with a commercial production unmodified tri-motored Fokker
transport plane with a sandbagged payload of 2200 pounds. The two prominent aviators took off
at 9:46 A.M., touching down at 11:31 A.M., completing an elapsed time of 1.44.30. The attempt
did eclipse the previous height record of July 26, 1929 (20,820 feet) as set by Waldo Waterman,
pilot manager of the Metropolitan Airport, in a Bach aircraft. The Frye-Richter record was
officially oversaw by Joe Nikrent, official timer of the National Aeronautical Association. After
the safe and uneventful flight, the ship’s barograph was sent to Washington D.C. for official
calibration by the Bureau of Standards, before the record could be officially acknowledged.
(See October 8, 1929 below for official decision on this event at Washington D.C.)
September 16, 1929
Aero Corporation President Jack Frye left for Mexico today from his company field at Los
Angeles on the first flight of the Standard Air Lines passenger service link via El Paso Texas to
Mexico City. Standard will connect with Corporacion Aeronautica Transportes (C.A.T.) at El
Paso which flies a route between there and Mexico City via Chihuahua, Torreon, Jimenez, and
Zacatecas. Service on C.A.T. is conducted with Hornet-powered Lockheed transports. Frye
departed on the "Arizonan", Standard’s regularly scheduled east-bound Fokker 10,
accompanied by several international passengers, at 8:30 A.M. (L.A. to Mexico City- 32 hrs., 15
min. per Aero.) It's my understanding this service was short lived due to civil unrest in Mexico.
October 8, 1929- Denial of Record- Faulty Barograph
Unfortunately, although a brave attempt, the above record was denied on this date because the
barograph employed on the Fokker “Arizonan” was deemed inaccurate by the Bureau of
Standards in Washington D.C. The official diagnosis revealed the height attained in the record
attempt was only 19,593 feet (not 23,200) which was 1227 feet short of the previous official
world record executed from Metropolitan Field. This information was processed by Dudley
Steele, chairman of the Contest Committee of the Aeronautical Association, at Los Angeles.
Sunday October 20, 1929
Standard Air Lines completed its eastern most terminal at El Paso with a modern facility which
duplicated in appearance the recently completed new spanish stucco Aero Corporation offices at
99th and Western Avenues at Los Angeles. Standard was instrumental in the development of
this regional airport which rested on 640 acres, 6 miles northeast of El Paso. Initially, there
were 4 runways which could accommodate the largest aircraft of the day. Other improvement
made by Standard were a water well with 10,000 gallons of backup storage, ample water-
pressure equal to city services, fireproof fuel and oil building, a large concrete-floored steel
hangar with 24-hour staff and repair facility. This all at a cost of a fifty thousand dollar by Aero
Corporation of California. Even today, the airport is credited as being founded by Standard Air
Lines. Carriers using the facility at the time were Standard Air Lines, Continental Air Express,
and private citizens.
The dedication celebration which started at 2:00 P.M. was complete with an air race and air
aerobatics. It was attended by the Aero-Standard president Jack Frye and his wife Debbie Frye,
as well as other Aero Corporation officials who flew over from Los Angeles early Sunday
morning. El Paso Mayor Robert Ewing Thomason (who did much to establish this facility) helped
dedicate the new airport highly commending Standard on “a long stride” toward the
development of El Paso air service. Amid the playing of “America” and the “Star Spangled
Banner” the mayor and president Frye raised the American Flag over the field in celebration.
V.I.P. guests were many to include the Fryes, Fort Bliss (1st Cavalry) commanding officer
Brigadier General Charles J. Symmonds, General Francisco Del Arco (Juarez Garrison), and
Juarez Mayor Arturo Flores.
The crowd was wowed by Burrell Smith who whipped into the new field after winning the 50-mile
free-for-all” race. Mrs. Frye awarded him a silver trophy as the crowd cheered. Mr. Smith is a
well-known crack pilot and Sales Manager for Aero Corporation of California at Los Angeles.
Other winners were Los Angeles pilots Dudley Steele and A. E. Cameron, respectively. Other
entertainment was orchestrated by Lee Flanagin and Burrell Smith, as they performed a
variety of air show maneuvers for the enthralled audience.
The El Paso terminal will serve as an important link in the Standard Air Lines, Los Angeles-
East service. After passengers arrive in El Paso from L.A., they board the Texas Pacific Railway
(the T & P) to continue their journey to New York City. Standard has carried over 1200
passengers in the last three months alone. In early 1929, J. H. White, former president of the
Arizona Southwest Bank at Douglas Arizona, was made administrator-manager of Aero
Corporation's operations, and the El Paso field.
Aero Corporation of California pilot Burrell Smith was the first pilot to lift off from the newly
dedicated municipal airport of Douglas Arizona. The field has excellent night illumination and
Smith was also the first to leave the field on a night-time flight. Aero Corp. is finishing up
facilities, to include a stucco terminal-office building, which will greatly aid Standard Air Lines
passengers and pilots navigating its east coast run from Los Angeles to New York City.
Notation on Douglas Airport
Recently, in tracing the trail of Frye and Standard Air Lines throughout the southwest I ended
up in Douglas. I had the great pleasure of meeting Robin Brekhus who owns the Hotel Gadsden
in downtown Douglas, where surely Jack Frye stayed on at least a couple occasions. Robin was
most gracious and helpful in showing us her "Woman’s Air Derby of 1929" memorabilia at the
hotel, but even more so, in taking the time out of her busy day to give us a tour of Douglas and
the airport, sharing Douglas’ rich history. Robin and her husband are both pilots (her husband
a commercial pilot) thus Robin showed an obvious appreciation of aviation and its history. At
the old airport we viewed a terminal building that still had “Standard Air Lines” painted on it,
bringing the history of the air field and this pioneering airline, well into the 21st century!
The above media image was taken at Aero Corporation Field (99th/104th and Western Avenue)
Los Angeles, CA. Seen is Paul E. Richter (left) and Jack Frye (right) after their altitude climb
over L.A., tentatively determined to be a (23,200 feet transport plane record). Later though this
was disputed and denied at Washington D.C., by the National Aeronautical Association.
The image was circulated by a media-news agency (AP) and originally distributed by Newspaper
Division Field Enterprises, Inc. The image was not owned by news service agencies (in the field)
who reproduced (published) the image, rather it was on loan. The original photographer is
unknown. This original vintage 1929 photo is owned by Sedona Legend. Further information
regarding photos seen on Sedona Legend can be found at the bottom of Page 2010. This photo
may have been taken by a (Miss R. West at Los Angeles). The plane was reported as the (Aero
Corporation) owned Standard Air Lines transport "Arizonan" Reg. Tail Number NC581K.
Aero Corporation Of California (d.b.a.) Standard Air Lines
3 New Luxury Fokker Tri-Power F10A Passenger Airliners
Power Plants: 3 Pratt & Whitney Wasp 420 (425) H.P.
Christened by Aero Corporation of California-
The Arizonan NC581K (c/n 1055)
The Texan NC9169 (c/n 1038)
The Californian (to be determined)
Publicity Photos of Passengers and Frye