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A Tribute to TWA..."The Airline Run by Flyers"
Early TWA History from original TWA documents.
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TWA Co-Founder
Paul E. Richter Jr. 1898-1949
13 Black Cats
Richter, second from left.

In 1924, Paul Richter earned his pilot license #309 and in 1925 was a founding member of the "13 Black Cats." The 13 Black Cats were famous stunt and movie flyers.

More on the '13 Black Cats'. Here

"One of the few veterans of the barnstorming and stunt era who became an executive of a historic airline." Airways, The History of Commercial Aviation in the U.S. by Henry Ladd Smith - 1942

"The world of mortals is a world of imagination and it changes by thought."author unknown
"Paul Richter "thought" there was a future in aviation."

"Richter is known as one of the best pilots in the Southwest." Western Flying, March 1926
Richter (left) with a Sovereign productions actor
Richter (left) with a Sovereign productions actor.

Paul Richter in his first airplane, a Jenny. Photo taken in 1925
Paul in his 1st airplane, a 'Jenny'.
Original cost, $500.

Paul was called "Air Ace," "Race Champ," "Famous flyer." He was a founder of Aero Corp. of Ca. in 1926, one of the 1st accredited flying schools in the U.S. and Standard Air Line in 1927, 1st scheduled all passenger service.

More on Aero Corp and Standard Air Lines Here
See Paul's first pilots license, signed by Orville Wright. Here

Aero Corp of California Flight School,
Aero Corp of California Flight School,

Mrs. Jacques Vinmont presents the "Silver Cup Perpetual Trophy."

World Altitude Record

Nov.7, 1926, at Clover Field, Santa Monica, Ca., Richter set a World Altitude Record, 18,000 ft. for planes 100hp or less, in his "Eaglerock" with an OX-5 (Hisso) engine.

Left, Mrs. Jacques Vinmont presents the "Silver Cup Perpetual Trophy."

"The skill of the pilot and the performance of the ship were matters of common knowledge among folk who follow aeronautical affairs...No one expected a ship with a 90hp motor to beat ships with engines delivering from 160 to 300hp which Richter and the Eaglerock did." Western Flying, Nov. 1926

Paul Richter, after his 18,000 ft. record, getting a check-up. Jack Frye, second from left.
Paul Richter getting a check-up after his 18,000 ft. record. Jack Frye, second from left.
World Speed Record

On Sept. 26, 1926, at Clover Field, Los Angeles, Paul Richter, was the winner of the "Western Flying Civilian Sweepstakes Trophy" ... "Reginal Denny Trophy"....1st place in the Civilian Class 3 at "World Flight Commemoration Meet". Richter flew the Alexander Eaglerock in the time of 100min. 29sec., the fastest time made by any civilian plane.

Read Western Union Telegram of September, 26 1926. Here

Read the rules and regulations governing the "World Flight Commemoration Meet." Here

Aero Corporation of California field, Los Angeles California 1926.
"Western Ave. in LA was known as 'flyers row' because of the many barnstormers who occupied adjoining fields."Aero Digest's Fred Hattoom

Left, Aero Corporation of California field, Los Angeles California 1926.

In 1927, Paul earned his Airplane and Engine mechanic's license #702 and Air Transport license #501 and was a member of the Los Angeles Junior and Senior Chamber of Commerce, and a New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Member of the Quiet Birdmen, #1682. He was also an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, Wings Club Inc, National Aeronautic Association, Pour's Register, Who's Who in the Western Hemisphere, Transportation and Industry, American Aviation, etc.

See Paul Richter's flight time and aircraft flown, 1925 - 1935. Here
Paul Richter and 2 trophies

Richter Wins Awards at the National Air Races, 1927
Richter is Noted Coast Speed and Altitude Champ article
Right, 'Air ace' Paul Richter, 2nd from right, with 5 trophies in one day, National Air Races 1927. Jack Frye, 2nd from left.

Air ace' Paul Richter, 2nd from right, with 5 trophies in one day, National Air Races 1927. Jack Frye, 2nd from left

Aviation Executive, Paul Richter establishes an airline
for the United States during World War II
Capt. Paul E. Richter
Capt. Paul E. Richter was called to active duty to establish Naval and Military Air Transport Services... He served as the sole Navy representative to the 1st "International Civil Aviation Conference" in Chicago, November-December 1944 and received a citation from Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal.

"I'm sure the results will be beneficial not only to Aviation of the U.S. but to Aviation of the world; and you should have every reason to be satisfied with your contributions to that end."
Adolf A. Berle, Department of State...Dec.7, 1944

From 1942 to 1945 Based in Washington DC and in Oakland, Ca., applying his air transport skills to the war effort, Richter was instrumental in the establishment and development of N.A.T.S., to transport troops and equipment throughout the world. While simultaneously establishing airbases, Richter was responsible for operations world wide, the Pacific, Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East.

He returned to active duty in 1948, with C. R. Smith and Ralph Damon, Paul Richter helped establish and was considered a co-founder of M.A.T.S. Military Air Transport Service by Gen. Laurence Kuter,Commander of M.A.T.S.

Richter tested and piloted all of TWA aircraft, including the Northrop Alpha and Gamma. He flew all the Navy aircraft in the reserves and during WWII.
Capt. Paul E. Richter
By the end of the war, the Air Transport Command and the Naval Air Transport Service were operating the equivalent of the biggest airline in aviation history.

Paul Richter continued to manage TWA after Jack's resignation in February 1947. Only two aviation executives, Richter and Collings remained on the Hughes board. Paul was offered the Presidency by Howard Hughes and TWA Board of Directors but Richter resigned in April 1947.

"Paul Richter, who helped put TWA on the air map, quit as TWA's executive vice president with some harsh words: "I cannot agree with the policies, the programs, or the procedures proposed by the controlling stockholder." Time Magazine 4-15-1947

"We realize that TWA would not be what it is today if you were not out there keeping things running smoothly." Myra Black, Washington D.C., Oct. 8, 1942
Capt. Paul E. Richter at home with dog "I have always felt you were the stabilizer of the TWA organization. This must have been a hard decision to make or see develop because TWA was so much a part of you. TWA, to me, is Paul Richter...You have been one of my guiding lights and favorites for a long time and I hope you don't get too far away."
Warren Blazier, Beech Aircraft, 4-22-!947

"To me, you have always been "Mr. TWA" and it isn't going to be easy to separate the two in my mind."

Fialeigh Albert, 4-16-1947

"The name, Paul Richter, has meant stability and integrity to those of us who have literally grown up with the airline."
R.E. (Bob) Whitmer, 4-15-1947

"Somehow or other when I thought of TWA I have thought of Paul Richter as it has always seemed to me that you were the guiding spirit of that airline."
L.P. Cookingham, City Manager, Kansas City, Mo. 4-8-1947

"You and TWA are synonymous."
From Tom Braniff to Paul, 4-9-1947

"I have told you many times that you stand for a square deal, stability and everything that breeds loyalty and desire for our company to succeed. You are the symbol of all these things not only to the older employees but to the newer ones who have been told about you by those you have worked with for so many years."
TWA V.P. Col. Clarence Fleming, urging Richter to take the TWA presidency...Feb.9, 1947
Paul Richter Hail and Farewell 1947 to 1949, Paul Richter served as Chairman of the Board and President of T.A.C.A. Airways. In May of 1949 as an executive of the Coca Cola company, Paul E. Richter died at the age of 53, having the accomplishments of 200 years.

Thanks to Gary Hyatt and his Davis-Monthan Field site, an incredible account of early pioneers and planes.
For a great tribute to Paul E. Richter Jr. Here
Paul and Daisy
Paul and Daisy, his sweetheart and life-long wife.

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