Commercial enterprises in early aviation began to develop after World War I when veteran aviators left the military and saw
a future in air travel. Burdett Fuller was a naval reserve flyer who started a flying school and passenger service that grew
into an active operation known as Burdett Airport and Burdett Airline located off Western Avenue at 94th Street in Southwestern
Los Angeles. Fuller began his airline in 1919 with war surplus Jennys and opened his Burdett Airport in 1922. Primarily a
flight instruction operation, he taught Jack Frye, his partner, Bobbie Trout, Paul Richter, Ruth Elder, Frances and Josephine
Wood (first twin pilots) and Jack Maxness how to fly. His flight logbook indicates about 40% of his flying time was instruction
with charter passenger, sightseeing, aerial photography, and therapy for hearing disabilities filling most of the entries
from 1928 to 1935.
Recognized as a pioneer commercial pilot, licensed as Transport Pilot #538, Fuller logged 10,031 hours, 38,225 flights, and
18,259 passengers during his commercial pilot career. He never lost a passenger or student. Fuller sold his interest in Burdett
Airline and Airport to Jack Frye in 1927 and later worked for Douglas Aircraft as a test pilot. His student and partner, Jack
Frye, developed Burdett Airline into mergers with Aero Corp. and Standard Airlines, later flying under Western Air Express
(an early U.S. mail carrier) and finally into Trans World Airline (TWA) where he was president through the 1940s. Another
historic aviation venture involving Fuller and Frye was known as the "13 Black Cats" a stunt team working for the pioneer
movie industry in the early 1920s. Jack Frye was one of the pilots. They were based at Burdett Airport, reportedly the first
private airport in Western United States.
Fuller died December 24, 1949 at the Long Beach Naval Hospital at age 68. He was buried at Sawtelle National Cemetery.