Frank Byerley, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Heins)
Frank Byerley, Jr. was a well-known aviator for whom the local Lake Providence, LA airport is named. Byerley was a veteran Army pilot who served in World War I and later worked as a commercial pilot for the Detroit News. His career also included a period of bush-flying in Alaska. At right, a portrait of pilot Byerley shared with us by site contributor Andy Heins.
Byerley landed twice at Tucson, each time flying Lockheed Vega NC32M. His
first landing was on August 24, 1929. He was carrying James Piersol as passenger. (Piersol
was the aviation editor for the Detroit News). Byerley and Piersol were eastbound from Los Angeles, CA to El Paso, TX. Based on the manufacture date of the
airplane, this could easily be the ferry flight of the airplane
to its new owners in Detroit. Less than two months
later, Byerley and Piersol would fly NC32M as an “accompanying” airplane
in the 1929
Ford Reliability Tour, no doubt covering the
event for the newspaper.
His second visit to the Davis-Monthan Airfield was on November 26, 1931. He carried a single passenger,
Arthur Mankey. They were eastbound from Los Angeles
to El Paso, TX.
Below, also shared with us by Mr. Heins, is a photograph of Byerley on the left and James Piersol on the right. From the color scheme (direct your browser to the airplane's page, above), the airplane behind them is probably NC32M. Compare this photograph, too, with the one on Piersol's page.
Frank Byerley (L) and James Piersol, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Heins)
The excerpt below is from the East Carroll Parish, AL Genealogy Web site. It gives insight into Byerley's flying and social lives. According to the Social Security Death Index, Frank Byerley was born July 11, 1895 and died during December, 1986 in New Orleans, LA at age 91. His wife, whom he married in 1959, passed away in February, 2007 at age 93.
BIOGRAPHIES: “Frank Byerley has had one of the most colorful and varied careers of any resident. He was a World War I veteran, a pilot for a newspaper, a farmer, and for 20 yrs was Secretary-Treasurer of the E. C. Parish Police Jury. Frank came from Mississippi with his parents. He was tutored privately by Mrs. J. C. Purdy, Sr., and graduated from the University of the South at Sewanee, TN, where he majored in science. He was President of his graduating class. He learned to fly at Scott Field, Belleviume, Belleville, Illinois, while he was in service. After graduation he came a pilot for the Detroit News, a flying writer and photographer all over the country and Alaska to cover the news. Byerley later flew an auto-gyro and demonstrated it at air shows. His associates during these years included: Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Doolittle and Wylie Post. When on assignment with the Detroit News, President Hoover and former President Coollidge were dedicating a monument for the late President Taft, when Frank in the autogyro was shooting aerial pictures, not knowing that the ceremony had started early, the President inquired who the pilot was and personally ordered him “grounded.“ Frank returned to L. P. around 1920 to care for his mother and her farming interests. He also became head football coach at L.P.H.S. His championship team was in 1922.
CLUBS; AMERICAN LEGIONAIRES: The American Legion, local Post Number 37, Powell-Martin-Barrett, was named for three heroes who gave their lives for their country in WWI. Organized in 1920, two of the charter members still living are William McFarland Long and Frank Byerly.  “A Place to Remember”, Pinkston.
CLUBS; ROTARY CLUB INTERNATIONAL: Organized on October 29, 1935. One of the past presidents of the Rotary Club of L. P., Louisiana for 1946-47 was 1952-53 Frank A. Byerly. From "A Place to Remember", Georgia Pinkston
TRANSPORTAION; AIRPORTS: Byerly Airport, named in honor of Frank Byerly, who pioneered in aviation during WWI and after, has a current aircraft movement annually of 8,200 planes (60% agricultural and local, 40% business trips). About 1, 220 passengers annually go through the airport.  “A Place to Remember”, Pinkston.
Byerley, Frank (Mrs.)
WOMEN’S AUXILIARY: “This associate of the Legion, Powell-Martin-Barrett Unit Number 37, was organized in Aug. 1926. One of the 1st officers was Mrs. Frank Byerly, Chaplain. From the book “A Place to Remember”, by Georgia Pinkston.
The Detroit News operated an autogiro from 1931 to 1933. Below is a photograph of Byerley in the Detroit News autogiro, NC799W, referred to in the article. The photo is dated April 6, 1931. It is from the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of The Detroit News. Byerley is in the rear cockpit. The photographer behind the camera was identified at the link as "Kuenzel." Another photograph of NC799W, Byerley and Kuenzel is at the link.
Frank Byerley (R), Detroit News Autogiro NC799W, April 6, 1931 (Source: Link)
The original NC799W is on exhibit at The Henry Ford Museum at the link. An article about Byerley, Piersol and the Detroit News aircraft is at the link.
UPLOADED: 09/06/11 REVISED: 11/16/17