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“Frozen Controls” by Frank Richardson Pierce

Link - Posted by David on April 1, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another exciting air adventure with Rusty Wade from the pen of Frank Richardson Pierce. Pierce is probably best remembered for his prolific career in the Western Pulps. Writing under his own name as well as two pen names—Erle Stanly Pierce and Seth Ranger—Pierce’s career spanned fifty years and produced over 1,500 short stories, with over a thousand of these appearing in the pages of Argosy and the Saturday Evening Post.

This time around, on a stop over in Seattle, Rusty os approached by a a good friend to pilot his experimental plane in order to achieve a new altitude record and get some dynamic shots of the eclipse that will be happening. Rusty agrees, if he can have his old pal Steve Branleigh as his copilot. Problem is, Steve was the last pilot to try in this plane and had to bail out before the record was achieved. Can Rusty clear his friend’s name while pushing the experimental plane to its limit? From the pages of the June 1929 Air Trails, it’s Frank Richardson Pierce’s “Frozen Controls!”

“Rusty” Wade makes a momentous decision and leaps into space forty thousand feet above the earth.

“Mushing Down the Air Trail” by Frank Richardson Pierce

Link - Posted by David on January 7, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another exciting air adventure with Rusty Wade from the pen of Frank Richardson Pierce. Pierce is probably best remembered for his prolific career in the Western Pulps. Writing under his own name as well as two pen names—Erle Stanly Pierce and Seth Ranger—Pierce’s career spanned fifty years and produced over 1,500 short stories, with over a thousand of these appearing in the pages of Argosy and the Saturday Evening Post.

This time around, gold has been found at an old claim up north and Rusty’s in a race with an unscrupulous pilot to reach the site and stake the claim and get back first to register said claim. Can Rusty outwit and outfly Pratt and get Old Man Dorsey back to the registrar’s off first. From the pages of the February 1929 Air Trails, it’s Frank Richardson Pierce’s “Mushing Down the Air Trail!”

High-powered planes and battling pilots above the snow fields of Alaska!

 

And as a bonus, here’s “The Landing Field” column from the January 1930 number of Air Trails where we get to know more about Frank Richardson Pierce, Rusty Wade, Alaska and the Air Musher!

 

THE LANDING FIELD
AIR TRAILS • January 1930 v3n4

IN THESE crisp winter days with snow streaking through the sky, it seems right and proper to introduce Frank Richardson Pierce to you folks. Pierce lives up in the Northwest, up in Seattle, Washington—and he spends a good deal of his time hopping around Alaska. He is an outdoor man in every sense of the word. There are few writers in America who can catch the spirit of the frozen North as he can. His interests lie out under the open sky, with snow fields, fir forests, Canyons and great rivers. It was natural, therefore, that he took to flying.

For the past year you’ve been reading the “Rusty” Wade stories by Pierce. They’ve made a hit with Air Trails readers all over the country. The reason is that they ring as true as the roar of a Whirlwind motor on the nose of a new sport model ship. Pierce knows all about the Rusty Wade country.

He just recently came back from a trip over Alaska. Here’s what he says: “I get a great kick out of flying over some place I’ve walked. It gives me a chance to laugh at myself in comfort. But mostly I prefer flying in Alaska—the walking is tougher there.

“Alaskans lead the nation in air-mindedness. They have been flying for years—not for sport, but for business reasons. Why should a miner pole a boat for days up a river and fight mountains and glaciers when he can fly there with his outfit for a few dollars and still have the whole season ahead of him in which to prospect? Where in previous years it required weeks and months to bring out a load of fur, now it comes out in hours.

“An Eskimo may be popeyed when he arrives in Seattle and sees street cars, automobiles and skyscrapers, but he’ll not even blink at an airplane. He’s seen them before and probably has ridden in one.

“Rusty Wade is a typical Alaskan pilot. Landing fields are few and far between. If a pilot is forced down he has to walk out and it may take him days. And yet, right now, I can’t recall a single crash in which any one was killed. There may have been some, you understand, but I can’t recall them.

“At times, in Rusty Wade stories, I have tried to describe Alaska from the air. Thus far I have failed utterly. I doubt if there is in the whole world, anything more beautiful than flying over ice fields and glaciers studded with mighty peaks and set with lakes of the rarest blue. If any of the readers make a trip next summer, cable ahead to Juneau and make arrangements to see a bit of Alaska from the air while the steamer is lying over.

“At the present time a surveying party is working out of Juneau in planes. They are surveying a waterpower project discovered by the Alaskan air-mappers—a navy outfit. The lake is two thousand three hundred feet above the sea in a rough country. It would take many hours of the hardest work to reach the spot with equipment. The plane leaves Juneau and is on the lake within twenty minutes. It has even taken up a fourteen-foot skiff to the lake.”

A NUMBER of readers have written in, wanting to know what type of plane the Air Musher that Rusty Wade uses is. Well, that’s easy, and it gives us a chance to do a little “ground flying” here in front of the hangars. There’s nothing that a pilot likes so much as to talk about different types of ships.

The Air Musher is a Fokker Universal Monoplane equipped with ski landing gear. It is a type of plane that has stood the test of time. Ask any flyer what he thinks about the Fokker Universal. It has been used for prospecting, forest fire patrol, exploring, crop dusting, and for mail and passenger transportation on most of the air routes of this country and Canada.

With a pilot, four passengers and eighty pounds of mail or baggage, the Fokker Universal can carry enough gas to cruise for six hundred miles. It is generally powered with a Whirlwind motor, and, carrying a fair load, can reach a ceiling of sixteen thousand feet. Fully loaded, the landing speed is forty-five miles per hour and the high speed one hundred and eighteen m.p.h. One of the good things about this crate is the perfect vision provided for the pilot. He sits ahead of the leading edge of the wing and can look forward, right, left, overhead and downward. This is a big feature when you have to set down in rough Alaska country, where landing fields are not made to order.

The Fokker Universal will almost never spin or nose dive when stalled. It glides downward on an even keel while remaining under full control. With its wings of semi-cantilever construction and its strong cabin the Fokker Universal is just the type of ship for work in rough country where flights are made in all kinds of weather. There are bigger ships, more powerful ones, and faster ones; but there are few that can stand up under all conditions like the type of which Rusty’s Air Musher is representative.

If the Air Musher ever cracks up against the side of a glacier, Rusty Wade will probably be getting one of the Fokker Super-Universals to take its place. They are slightly larger ships, with a wing span of fifty feet seven inches, and powered with a Pratt & Whitney four hundred h.p. motor. They can carry as many as eight passengers, and, with a fair load, can reach a service ceiling of eighteen thousand feet. Their top speed is one hundred and thirty-eight miles per hour.

“The Sunrise Pilot” by Frank Richardson Pierce

Link - Posted by David on May 22, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another exciting air adventure with Rusty Wade from the pen of Frank Richardson Pierce. Pierce is probably best remembered for his prolific career in the Western Pulps. Writing under his own name as well as two pen names—Erle Stanly Pierce and Seth Ranger—Pierce’s career spanned fifty years and produced over 1,500 short stories, with over a thousand of these appearing in the pages of Argosy and the Saturday Evening Post.

This time around, it looks like Rusty’s half-brother, Bert Procter, has gotten himself into a bit of trouble—he’s being charged with fish piracy and air deputy Marshall Rusty who has to serve the arrest warrant! Bust Rusty knows Bert, and although he’s gotten in over his head on some bad deals, Rusty believes he’s turned his life around and is being framed—but can he prove it? From the pages of the July 1929 Air Trails, it’s Frank Richardson Pierce’s “The Sunrise Pilot!”

Gangster guns spit flame as “Rusty” Wade rides the air trails.

“The Boomerang Pilot” by Frank Richardson Pierce

Link - Posted by David on June 1, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have another exciting air adventure with Rusty Wade from the pen of Frank Richardson Pierce. Pierce is probably best remembered for his prolific career in the Western Pulps. Writing under his own name as well as two pen names—Erle Stanly Pierce and Seth Ranger—Pierce’s career spanned fifty years and produced over 1,500 short stories, with over a thousand of these appearing in the pages of Argosy and the Saturday Evening Post.

This time around, Rusty is faced with a choice—fly to Seattle to help his good friend Bid McCord win a government contract to develop long lasting airplane motors, or head off into the Alaskan wilds to save his nemesis, Hawk Breed, who’s had a bad accident and needs prompt medical assistance. From the pages of the November 1929 Air Trails, it’s Frank Richardson Pierce’s “The Boomerang Pilot!”

With disaster staring him in the face, “Rusty” Wade hurls defiance at the high gods of the air.

“The Sky Fool” by Frank Richardson Pierce

Link - Posted by David on February 17, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Frank Richardson Pierce is probably best remembered for his prolific career in the Western Pulps. Writing under his own name as well as two pen names—Erle Stanly Pierce and Seth Ranger—Pierce’s career spanned fifty years and produced over 1,500 short stories, with over a thousand of these appearing in the pages of Argosy and the Saturday Evening Post.

Pierce was born in 1881 in Greenfield, Massachusetts but raised on the west coast. A graduate of the University of Washington, he served for a year and a half in the US Navy as a boatswain’s mate and worked for the city of Seattle as a clerk stenographer. He began writing travel articles about the northwest for various motorcycle trade journals and later progressed to short story writing.

Pierce draws upon his knowledge of the Pacific Northwest from his reported fourteen different motorcycle trips to and through the Alaska territory for his story of rival news-reels services covering the first woman to fly over the North Pole. The story features Rusty Wade, Pierce’s rough and tumble red-headed pilot for hire looking for his big financial break.

A story of daring pilots and news-reel men on the far sky trails of the Northland.

 

And as a bonus, here’s an article from Mr. Pierce’s former home town paper, The San Bernardino Daily Sun, about his successful career in the pulps!

 

Graduate of Redlands School 25 Years Ago Now Writes Scores of Stories Yearly for Magazines

Thousands of Readers Know Frank Richardson Pierce Under Two Names; Spends Week-End Visiting Foothill City Home
By MAURICE S. SULLIVAN
San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, CA • 10 May 1932

When Frank Richardson Pierce graduated from Redlands’ old Kingsbury school, about 25 years ago, he didn’t know that some day he should have two names.

Thousands of readers of the so-called pulps—magazines printed on rough paper—know a writer named Seth Ranger, and eagerly follow his stories of the frontier days, the logging country, Alaska and the Orient. Some of them also know a writer named Frank Richardson Pierce, but the latter has his own distinct following, who watch for his stories Just as do the devotees of Seth Ranger.

Frank Richardson Pierce and Seth Ranger are the same writer. He lives now in Seattle, but he spent his boyhood in Redlands. Whenever—in one of his stories—he needs a small city setting, or a town just over the mountains from the desert, his mind goes back to the Redlands of his youth and under another name Redlands goes into the story.

He spent the last week-end here, at the home of his father, Martin F. Pierce, 24 East Fern avenue. He was taking a brief vacation after having completed “Timber War.”

Frank Pierce is one of those talented persons who turn out stories for the pulps In a seemingly endless stream, while at the same time producing an occasional yarn for the slicks—smooth paper magazines. Howard Marsh, a Redlands resident; Fred McIsaac and H. Redford Jones are others who have the faculty.

To those persons who spend months trying to fashion a readable story, revising and rewriting, the skill of Mr. Pierce and his co-workers is amazing. In one year this writer sold 121 stories, at the rate of about 10 each month: short stories, novelettes and serials of novel length.

Conversing with Mr. Pierce one learns that this extraordinary success, as in the case of most writers, has a basis of hard work and study. He had to learn his trade by practice and by examining the technique of those who were publishing their output.

“The first nine or 10 stories I wrote didn’t click,” said Mr. Pierce. “Then I received a lucky break.

“I had been in the naval reserve during the war, so that I know a good deal of naval procedure and the language of the navy. One day I picked up a magazine In which there was a sea story with the navy as a setting.

“As I read it, I said to myself that here was something right down my alley, and if that was the kind of thing the editors of that particular magazine wanted, I could write it. I turned out a story and sent It to New York.

“It happened that as the editor of the magazine was reading my manuscript a naval officer, a friend of his, came into the office. The editor tossed the script to this officer and asked him his opinion.

“Men in certain trades and professions are very critical of stories dealing with their crafts, and the writer who tries to draw on his imagination for facts and atmosphere is likely to bring down on his head a storm of derisive letters. But when the naval officer read this story of mine he was pleased.

“It might not have been a particularly good story, but he was reading it with an eye for flaws in detail. When he found the language of the characters was authentic navy talk, and the method of abandoning ship, which I had described, was accurately detailed, he thought It was a great yarn. He told the editor so. The story sold, and I was able to turn out a series of them along the same lines.”

Seattle is a very advantageous place in which to live, for one who writes. To that city come the ships of the Orient, men from far places in the North, returning to civilization. There is a cattle country and a mountain country nearby. Fisheries, canneries, logging camps and timber locales all are available. The city is the home of persons who have lived through the Klondike days of Alaska.

When the writer is balked by some perilous piece of detail or atmosphere, he knows where he can get assistance, if he had made friends with the old-timers.

Mr. Pierce wrote a story in which a character was found frozen stiff squatting on his haunches in front of a fireplace, with his hands extended as if warming them at a blaze.

This scene brought a flood of letters, starting with one from a man who sarcastically averred that a freezing man would relax and fall over; that it was sheer impossibility that he should be frozen in the squatting position.

A loyal fan of Seth Ranger came to his rescue with an even more sarcastic letter. He enclosed a photograph of a man frozen while standing upright, and suggested to the writer that he “show this to that so-and-so who thinks he knows so much.” A Seattle friend of Mr. Pierce settled the matter for him. Jake the Musher, veteran of many trails, not only vouched for the accuracy of the frozen man detail, but also related similar instances out of his vast fund of experiences in the North.

The stumbling writer who fashions a line, then pauses to improve it, would be amazed to see Mr. Pierce at work. He usually makes but one draft of a story, turning it out at high speed, and shooting it, without revision, at the magazine for which it was “slanted.” There was a time, during an illness, when he talked his stories into a dictating machine, and depended upon a typist to transcribe them. It was difficult and discouraging, but because he had to do it, he kept at it until he could dictate as well as he could write.

Writing for the pulps is Mr. Pierce’s livelihood, but he is not content only to do that. He studies meanwhile, constantly striving for improvement; not trying to write literature, because the boundaries of literature are very vague and nobody living can say certainly what of the present day writing shall be called literature 100 years from now; but so long as folk are entertained by what he writes, striving to give them the best in the field.