Jack Frye
William John "Jack" Frye (March 18, 1904, Sweetwater, Oklahoma
Sweetwater, Oklahoma
Sweetwater is a town in Beckham and Roger Mills counties in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It was incorporated in 2003. Named for nearby Sweetwater Creek, the town is at the junction of State Highway 30 and State Highway 152...

 – February 3, 1959) was an aviation pioneer, who with Paul E. Richter
Paul E. Richter
Paul E. Richter, 1896 to 1949,Aviation pioneer, co-founder of TWA."The Airline Run by Flyers" During the "Golden Age" of flying, Paul E. Richter played a decisive role in creating and building all aspects of commercial aviation and military air transport...

 and Walter A. Hamilton, built TWA
The Twa are any of several hunting peoples of Africa who live interdependently with agricultural Bantu populations, and generally hold a socially subordinate position: They provide the farming population with game in exchange for agricultural products....

 into a world class airline during his tenure as chairman from 1934-1947.

Frye enlisted in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in 1921, was discharged as a corporal in 1922. He joined the USNR in 1934, commissioned as lieutenant, in 1940, promoted to lieutenant commander, resigned in 1952. He received the first commercial pilot certificate issued in the State of Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 - #1 - and held Transport Pilot certificate #933. Frye, Walter Hamilton and Paul E. Richter, Arizona pilot certificate #2, founded Aero Corporation in 1926 Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, with a subsidiary
A subsidiary company, subsidiary, or daughter company is a company that is completely or partly owned and wholly controlled by another company that owns more than half of the subsidiary's stock. The subsidiary can be a company, corporation, or limited liability company. In some cases it is a...

 Standard Air Lines
Standard Air Lines
Standard Air Lines was founded by Jack Frye, Paul E. Richter and Walter A. Hamilton in 1927. The three had founded Aero Corporation of California in 1926 in Los Angeles and Standard was made a subsidiary of Aero in 1927....

 in 1927. Jack Frye, as pilot
An aviator is a person who flies an aircraft. The first recorded use of the term was in 1887, as a variation of 'aviation', from the Latin avis , coined in 1863 by G. de la Landelle in Aviation Ou Navigation Aérienne...

, flew the first commercial plane into Tucson, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States. The city is located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2010 United States Census puts the city's population at 520,116 with a metropolitan area population at 1,020,200...

 (November 28, 1929).

Standard Air Lines was sold to Western Air Express in early 1930. Western Air Express merged with Transcontinental Air Transport
Transcontinental Air Transport
Transcontinental Air Transport was an airline founded in 1928 by Clement Melville Keys that merged in 1930 with Western Air Express to form what became TWA....

 in 1930 to form T&WA (TWA
The Twa are any of several hunting peoples of Africa who live interdependently with agricultural Bantu populations, and generally hold a socially subordinate position: They provide the farming population with game in exchange for agricultural products....

). Frye became president of T&WA in 1934 and Richter became Vice President. TWA was known as "The Airline Run by Flyers".

The airline suffered near disaster after its reputation was hurt in 1931 when Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne
Knute Rockne
Knute Kenneth Rockne was an American football player and coach. He is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in college football history...

 died on a T&WA Fokker
Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer named after its founder, Anthony Fokker. The company operated under several different names, starting out in 1912 in Schwerin, Germany, moving to the Netherlands in 1919....

A trimotor is an aircraft powered by three piston engines.Trimotor designs were relatively common in the early days of aviation, as engines were less powerful and less reliable.-Notable types:* Armstrong Whitworth Argosy...

 plane. In 1932 Jack Frye, representing TWA, sought a better aircraft and Douglas developed the Douglas Transport.

Jack Frye, and Captain Eddie Rickenbacker
Eddie Rickenbacker
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker was an American fighter ace in World War I and Medal of Honor recipient. He was also a race car driver and automotive designer, a government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in air transportation, particularly as the longtime head of Eastern Air Lines.-Early...

, with a T&WA team of Tomlinson, Fritz and Richter set a cross country record of 13 hours and 4 minutes in 1934 flying the Douglas DC-1. The DC-1 ultimately resulted in the development of the DC-3.

In 1939, desiring greater control of their airline Frye and Richter approached Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes
Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. was an American business magnate, investor, aviator, engineer, film producer, director, and philanthropist. He was one of the wealthiest people in the world...

 to buy into the company. (Jack Frye stated in an April 6, 1954 issue of Life magazine that it was Hughes who approached him (Frye) in regard to investments.) Hughes' interest was airplanes, and his involvement was the development and financing of the Lockheed Constellation
Lockheed Constellation
The Lockheed Constellation was a propeller-driven airliner powered by four 18-cylinder radial Wright R-3350 engines. It was built by Lockheed between 1943 and 1958 at its Burbank, California, USA, facility. A total of 856 aircraft were produced in numerous models, all distinguished by a...

 (the "Connies"). Frye and Hughes flew the Constellation on a record six hour 58 minute cross country flight on April 17, 1944.

After resigning as president of T.W.A., on February 21, 1947, Frye landed on his feet. On April 14, 1947, he was elected Chairman of the Board of General Aniline and Film Corp, American IG
American IG
American IG is the name of a company, and it owes its genesis to a German business conglomerate, namely, Interessens-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG, or IG Farben for short...

, General Dyetuff Corporation Ansco
Ansco was the name of a photographic company based in Binghamton, New York, which produced inexpensive cameras for most of the 20th century. It also sold rebadged versions of cameras made by other manufacturers, including Agfa and Chinon...

. On (July 1, 1947), he flew out to New York from his Sedona Ranch and filled the position. He retained the position of CEO and president until 1955. In 1954-1955 he formed his own company, the Frye Corporation, (to develop a new improved version of the Douglas Commercial airplane). Frye served the Fort Worth based company as C.E.O. until his death in 1959.

In 1941, he married the former Helen Varner Vanderbilt Frye who was previously married to Cornelius Vanderbilt IV
Cornelius Vanderbilt IV
-Biography:He was born on April 30, 1898 in Staten Island to Cornelius Vanderbilt III and Grace Graham Wilson.He attended Harstrom's Tutoring School and St. Paul's as a young man, then served in the Ambulance Service during the First World War where he became a driver when a general asked the...

. Frye died February 3, 1959 in a car accident in Tucson, Arizona, exactly 33 years to the day after his founding of Standard Air Lines. He was originally buried in Tucson, but now is at rest in Wheeler, Texas
Wheeler, Texas
Wheeler is a city in Wheeler County, Texas, United States, situated on the eastern edge of the Texas Panhandle. Both the city and the county are named for Royal Tyler Wheeler, a chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court. The population was 1,378 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Wheeler...


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