“She Flew Like a Dream”
(Jack Frye headline quote after landing)
Around 3:00am, a tall husky man walked up among the watchers. It was Jack Frye, wearing the same tan jacket and trousers he had all week as he and Howard Hughes put the Connie through her final pre-flight trials. He shook hands, glanced at his watch and started up the ladder to the cockpit. As he reached the top, a photographer called to him and snapped a picture. With a wave, he disappeared in the inner darkness of the plane.”
Actual video of the historic flight courtesy AIRBOYD
Letter from Frye and Hughes to TWA employees. It is this writer’s opinion Jack is the actual author of this letter. It just has that Jack Frye flavor we have read in other notes to his employees.
This magnificent feat and genius of Jack Frye and Howard Hughes remains one of those special moments in history that serves as a milestone marker in the world of aviation. From this writers opinion if it weren't for the Constellation’s conception, the vision from a single man, Jack Frye, the man who saw into the future more than any other airline executive of his time, its my opinion the airline industry would have looked different in some respects and probably less safe and secure until other men could have caught up to Frye’s unwavering dedication in this respect. By then and I wouldn’t wish it, many more airline accidents and the loss of life could have occurred. Remember, one of Jack Frye’s foundational treatises with determined focus since the 1920’s was ‘Safety’. He was the man who brought this commandment to the forefront of American airline aviation, and he forced the issue everyday he sat in the presidents seat. I can imagine him sitting with himself thousands of times in some office or cockpit seat alone thinking, “Did I do enough to ensure our passengers safety.”
I have served in the US Navy on carrier flight deck duty launching and retrieving jet aircraft, probably the most dangerous workspace in the world. And I am the safety coordinator in my business career of which I have witnessed some horrific accidents militarily and in the private sector. I know how important safety measures are to curtailing injury or worse. So in a sense I think I can relate to Jack’s genuine concern about safety. It had to be his top concern.
I hope you can appreciate by now on this blog through all of the notable firsts, articles and recollections of Jack Frye just how much he impacted the airline industry. I am in awe every week more and more as I learn about him and I find myself often attempting to get into his head to know the man more. This may be due to him being my cousins husband as there is a connection there that tends to inject a little more importance from my perspective of Jacks legacy, his career and his personal traits. Nevertheless, its easy to understand his drive and conviction to assuring everything was given great attention to detail on the Constellation project in all aspects of the design. It is true this great plane would not have happened without Jack Frye’s vision and Howard Hughes money.
Unlike Hughes, Jack Frye has not received the notoriety he deserves for his contribution to the airline industry and aviation at large, not even a tenth. This we know because he was a humble and gentile man with a big hearted personality beaming with confidence. He didn’t seek the limelight, he proved his worth and effectiveness in the cockpit and the board room. He is not a household name, he is a silent public figure that is begging to break out. His story has yet to be told to America in a big way, and for this reason he should now finally be put on the pedestal of greatness for all to see in the 21st century. This accolade he at least deserves, and the Constellation he conceived surely helps to place him in his proper historical seat.
To follow along with the 2014 Flight of the Connie re-creation, click this link.