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This information comes from the listings of Non-Prefixed and Non-Suffixed aircraft reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.


Your copy of the "Davis-Monthan Airfield Register" with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.


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Fokker F-VII NC7888


This airplane was a Fokker F-7A single-engine, (S/N 617; ATC unidentified), manufactured during September 1928 by N.V. Nederlandsche Vliegtuigenfabriek, Holland.  It was assembled and sold in the United States by the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, Teterboro Airport, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ.  It left the factory with a single Pratt & Whitney Hornet engine (S/N 224) of 525HP. An image of this airplane is here.

Fokker F-VII, Date & Location Unknown
Fokker F-VII, Date & Location Unknown

For the modelers reading this page, please see the Fokker aircraft manufacturer's page for discussions about Standard Air Lines fleet colors.

NC7888 sold on December 15, 1928 to the Aero Corporation of California, Los Angeles, CA.  Aero was the operator of Standard Air Lines, which was founded in 1927 by Jack Frye, Paul Richter and Walter Hamilton.  There is little in the NASM record for this airplane beyond the basic information above.  We learn nothing about its maintenance or travels. Below, an image of the airplane on the ground, probably in Los Angeles at the Aero Corporation property. I guess at the location, because of what looks like an Alexander Eaglerock aircraft in the background. Aero Corporation was an Eaglerock distributor.

Fokker F-VII, "Texan," Date Unknown (Source: Bybee)
Fokker F-VII, "Texan," Date Unknown (Source: Bybee)

Below, two more images of the airplane shared with us by friend of, John Underwood. It shows NC7888 wearing Standard Airlines livery, on the ground at an unidentified location.

Fokker F-VII, NC7888, February 26, 1929, People Unidentified (Source: Underwood)
Fokker F-VII, NC7888, February 26, 1929, People Unidentified (Source: Underwood)

In the photograph below, the gentleman on the right is the same one as on the right in the photo above. They are unidentified. Does anyone KNOW the identities of the people in the images? Note the machine turning on the strut fairings.

Fokker F-VII, NC7888, February 26, 1929, People Unidentified (Source: Underwood)
Fokker F-VII, NC7888, February 26, 1929, People Unidentified (Source: Underwood)

However, from the Davis-Monthan Register, we do know NC7888 landed four times at Tucson between January 23 and January 29, 1929.  Each time it was flown by Hap Russell, Chief Pilot for Standard.  In all of Russell’s visits to Tucson (he holds the distinction of having more landings, 83, than any other pilot in the Register) he was punctual and detailed in his Register entries, especially regarding passenger numbers (if not names).

For example, on January 23, 1929, Russell landed at 4:45PM with 1 passenger from Phoenix, AZ.  He remained overnight departing at 8:00AM the next morning with four passengers outbound to Los Angeles, CA.  Similar details and timing are recorded for his flights with NC7888 on 1/25, 1/28 and 1/29/1929.

It was Russell’s (and other Standard pilots) careful documentation of times and passenger counts that enabled me to write this article about the business economics of Standard Air Lines as measured by traffic through the Davis-Monthan Airfield.  This article was published in the American Aviation Historical Society Journal, April 2006.

Alas, NC7888 met an early end.  It crashed in fog near Beaumont, CA two months to the day (3/30/29) after Russell’s last visit with it at Tucson.  The airplane was totally wrecked and burned.  The pilot and three passengers were killed. No further information.

In addition to the four documented flights and landings at Tucson, from the collection of Ruth Richter Holden, Paul’s daughter, we find a letter written by Paul on February 10, 1929 while aboard NC7888.  The stationery he wrote on was for use in-flight on Standard airliners, and featured a line drawing of NC7888.  The purpose of Richter’s voyage (to Denver this trip) was to pick up an Alexander Eaglerock airplane from the factory in Colorado Springs.

It doesn’t take much detective work to piece together the entire round-trip.  We find the Eaglerock, NC6376 (C/N 748, A-1 model, J-5 engine), cited in the Register on Sunday February 17, 1929 just after noon.  Pilot Richter’s photographer, Robert Spence, mentioned in the letter, is his passenger this day. Undoubtedly this is the westbound ferry flight for this brand new airplane, albeit running a day or so behind (because of February weather?).


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 07/07/06 REVISED: 07/16/08, 07/30/08, 03/09/10

The Register
I'm looking for photographs of this airplane to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.
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