Registration Number NC9724
An Historic Airliner
NC9724 appears in the register 57 times between January
24, 1929 and September 6, 1929. The reason for this frequency
is that NC9724 was an airliner for Standard
Air Lines founded by Jack
Richter and Walter Hamilton. It was flown by six
pilots, including Frye, William Kingsley, William Kinsley, Harold Kelsey and Hap Russell.
The airplane is noted as being under “Ferry” on
January 14, 1929, piloted by Hap
Russell from New York (probably from the Fokker
factory in New Jersey; compare the date of its first visit for the airline, January 16, 1929). Its sister ships of the line
were NC3317 and NC8011. Below, a Fokker factory photograph from the San Diego Aerospace Museum (SDAM). The airplane is brand new in this port view, probably days before it was ferried by Russell through Tucson. Another photograph of the airplane is at the Hap Russell Photograph and Document Collection at the link. In this photograph NC9724 was named the "Californian."
Fokker Super Universal NC9724, Ca. 1929 (Source: SDAM)
Fokker Aircraft Corporation of America manufactured Super
Universal NC9724 in December, 1928. It was fitted with a
& Whitney Wasp engine (S/N 1014) of 400 HP. It sold to
Aero Corporation of California on January 1, 1929. It went
through a series of sales between Aero Corporation of California,
Mid-Continent Air Express and Western Air Express (WAE) in the
early 1930’s. Between 1934 and 1942, it passed to
five private owners (including Charles
H. Babb), with at
least one engine change (to another Wasp, S/N 1009) in September
Finally, it sold to the War Department, Corps of Engineers,
“Sometime in 1942/43…for operation outside the
Continental Limits of the U.S.” It did not get to
see foreign lands, because on October 10, 1943 it burned
beyond repair in a hangar fire at Van Nuys, CA (according
to the NASM record, Lockheed Vega NC972Y burned in the same
fire). NC9724, by far, led the longest life of the three
Fokkers of Standard Air Lines, just shy of 15 years.
Fokker Super Universal NC9724 at Tucson, Date Unknown (Source: AHS)
In the photo at right, displayed in front of the airplane is
the first United Air Express merchandise from Los Angeles
to reach Tucson for Albert Steinfeld & Co. This photo
was donated to the Arizona Historical Society (AHS) in 1969 by
Mary Hughston, who was the advertising manager for Albert
& Co. She identified Jack Frye as the man in the suit
to the left of the merchandise. The pilot was unidentified,
but it is probably William Kingsley.
Image, below, taken at the inauguration ceremonies of Standard Air Lines’ Air/Rail service at the city’s hangar, February 4, 1929, El Paso Municipal Airport, El Paso, TX. On August 4, 1929, eight months before its merger with WAE, Standard had erected its own building on its own property at El Paso similar to the Spanish mission style of the American Air Lines terminal at Tucson, shown here, and the one at Standard's Los Angeles terminal, here. The location of the new property became the contemporary El Paso International Airport. Compare the state of the paint on the top of the starboard wing with that on the image above.
Fokker NC9724 at El Paso, TX, February 1929
Standard Air Lines operated as the western link in an air-rail transcontinental schedule. Passengers traveled from New York to St. Louis by rail, connected with a Southwest Air Fast Express Ford Trimotor to Sweetwater, TX, then took an overnight train, “The Texan,” to El Paso. In El Paso, passengers connected with Standard Air Lines for Los Angeles. Under ideal conditions, the coast-to-coast voyage took 43 hours and 40 minutes, a savings of about 16 hours over the all-train routing. Two additional images of NC9724 on this site are at the Cosgrove Photograph and Document Collection.
Interestingly, in those early days, during the late 1920s,
chief revenue for airlines came from postal and cargo contracts
that paid by weight (Bilstein, 2001, p. 56, reference left
sidebar). It was not unusual for passengers to have to sign
a proviso that allowed the airline to dump them anywhere
along the line if the company could pick up a more cost-effective
cargo of mail. There is no indication that Standard Air Lines
adhered to this practice!
Image, below, from the American Aviation
Historical Society Journal, 52:1. Spring, 2007, p. 58
(REFERENCES). Note the different paint scheme from the images above.
Fokker NC9724 in 1940
Refer to this link
for general technical information about Fokker aircraft.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 6/9/05 REVISED: 07/07/06, 10/10/07, 06/24/11