Registration Number NC3317
A Workhorse From The Register
Like many of the aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan
Airfield during the decade of the Register, this Fokker worked
hard and died young.
This airplane appears in the Register 95 times between December
16, 1927 and March 4, 1930. The reason for this frequency
is that NC3317 was an airliner for Standard
Air Lines founded by Jack
Richter and Walter Hamilton. Seven Register pilots (Jack
Frye, Paul Richter, Hap
Russell, Harry Smedley,
Jay Talbot, Charles Widmer, and Lee Willey), six of
them Standard Air Lines pilots, flew the airplane. Its
sister ships of the line were NC9724
and NC8011. Please direct your browser to this link to see a clear image of this airplane.
The Fokker Universal was certificated in June 1927 (A.T.C.
#9). The pilot sat in an open cockpit forward of the wing’s
leading edge. The 765 miles from Los Angeles to El Paso
must have been a refreshing trip for the pilot. The enclosed
cabin below and to the rear of the pilot held 4-6 passengers.
It had a service ceiling of 12,000 feet and a cruise speed
of 105 statute miles per hour. They sold new at the factory
in 1927 for $14,200. The image, right, is from a Standard
Airlines brochure of the era shared with us by Ruth Richter
Holden, daughter of Paul Richter. See his link, above, for
Specific to our aircraft, Fokker Universal NC3317 (C/N 426)
was manufactured in October, 1927 by Atlantic Aircraft Corporation,
Teterboro Airport, Hasbrouck Hgts., N.J. It was fitted with
a Wright J-5 engine (S/N 8096). It sold on November 23,
1927 to Aero Corporation of California, the parent of Standard
Air Lines. Below, a photograph of NC3317 aloft shared with us by friend of dmairfield.org, John Underwood.
NC3317 Aloft Over Los Angeles, CA, Date Unknown (Source: Underwood)
Image, below, of the contemporary Standard Air
Lines logo. Both the logo and the brochure above feature
NC3317 as Standard's "poster airplane".
NC3317 lived for six years and one month. Between November
1927 and January 1930, NC3317 changed hands five times. On
July 9, 1930, with the Great Depression on the upswing, it
was repossessed by the California Standard Finance Corporation
and sold again on the same day to Aero Corporation of California
with the, “wing being in poor condition.” Standard
Air Lines had been taken over by Western Air Express the previous
A COLOR (!) motion picture of NC3317 is at the link (YouTube video). This is an early (1928-29) example of color film technology. The airplane appears at 5:00 minutes into the film. Allowing for color renditions by the films of the day, the fuselage shows up as a shade of green and the "S" in "Standard" is red. Regardless of the true colors, we see NC3317 in motion, and we see Register pilot Ruth Elder emerge from it modeling a coat with gold buttons. She is also featured modeling another garment at 3:00. Please direct your browser to the Fokker manufacturer page on this site for a discussion of Standard Air Lines color schemes.
After its airline duties, NC3317 went through four private
owners, two of whom were Davis-Monthan pilots. It sold to George
T. Westinghouse on May 13, 1932.
There is no record of his use for the month that he owned
it. Westinghouse sold it on June 24, 1932 to Charles
an aircraft broker, Los Angeles, CA.
Then, on July 14, 1932
it was purchased by J. Karl Williams of Norwalk, CA, reregistered
as NR3317, and used September 28-30, 1932 for a landplane
endurance record (with air-to-air refueling) by Evelyn
“Bobbi” Trout, herself an aviation pioneer.
She signed the Davis-Monthan Register in 1929. Her 1932 endurance flight with 3317 is documented at the Grand Central Air Terminal Register Web site, where the airplane is recorded in the GCAT Register at the start of the flight.
Named the “Spirit of 76” for the record attempt,
Bobbi Trout and John E. Sheasby departed Grand Central Air
Terminal, Glendale, CA at 2:48 PM and flew NR3317 for 40
hours before being forced down by a damaged propeller. Finally,
on February 7, 1933 the Fokker sold to James R. Hadley of
Los Angeles. It was wrecked in Los Angeles on November 17,
1933 (NASM records). No further information.
Refer to this link
for technical information about Fokker aircraft.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 6/9/05 REVISED: 03/11/06, 07/07/06, 09/04/06, 02/25/09, 04/11/09, 03/09/10, 03/22/12, 08/21/13