Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Fuller (Burdett) Personal Papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (57.44 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Contents
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
    Title: Burdett Fuller Personal Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: SDASM.SC.10051
    Physical Description: 0.2 Cubic Feet One Box
    Date (inclusive): 1880-1949
    Abstract: 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.

    Biographical / Historical

    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.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open to researchers by appointment.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Some copyright may be reserved. Consult with the library director for more information.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The materials in this Collection were donated to the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item], [Filing Unit], [Series Title], [Subgroups], [Record Group Title and Number], [Repository “San Diego Air & Space Museum Library & Archives”]

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of 1 scrapbook, 2 photo albums, and flight logbook.

    Related Materials

    Related SDASM Resources: A.L. Hobart Photo Album, AL-070 Luke Luqueer Photo Album, AL-073C
    Related Research Institutions: Huntington Library, Los Angeles, CA Pima Air Museum Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA Smithsonian, National Air & Space Museum, Washington D.C.
    Related Secondary Sources: Grand Central Air Terminal (Images of America) by John Underwood, Arcadia Publishing, 2006.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Stunt flying
    Burdett Fuller Airport
    Trans World Airlines
    McDonnell Douglas aircraft
    Fuller, Burdett D.