Ryan, T. Claude (ON HOLD)


Pioneer airplane manufacturer, company built Lindbergh’s “The Spirit of St. Louis”


Autograph ID: 3525
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1898-1982) US airplane manufacturer, aviator, airline executive. With partner B. Franklin Mahoney, launched 1st year-round regularly scheduled US daily airline passenger service 1925, San Diego-Los Angeles. Mahoney bought out his share of Ryan Airlines, Inc. 1927, Ryan staying as manager. First plane he designed, Ryan M-1, liked by airmail pilots for its rugged dependability. Early in 1927 Charles A. Lindbergh wired him from St. Louis: “Can you construct Whirlwind engine plane capable flying nonstop between New York and Paris? Stop. If so please state cost and delivery date.” Lindbergh put up $2,000 of his own, obtained backing from St. Louis businessmen, convincing them a single-engine plane had best chance for the 1st non-stop transatlantic flight and $25,000 prize. Lindbergh visited Ryan Aviation’s San Diego plant, signed papers with the company and nearly moved in. Engineer Donald A. Hall designed what Lindbergh wanted-a flying gasoline tank almost 28’ long with a 46’ wing span. Enmeshed in firm’s economic plight, Ryan was rarely involved with Lindbergh’s “The Spirit of St. Louis”, though both men shared much in common. Both grew up in small towns, developed affinities for motorcycles, cars & airplanes; both took flying lessons on their own, then benefited from military training; both did stints at barnstorming, acquiring know-how in matters such as forced landings, which early days of flying was routine. Lindbergh’s solo nonstop flight began May 20, 1927, ending 33-1/2 hours later in Paris. Lindbergh became an overnight hero and made Ryan Aviation famous. Orders for the M-1 came from all over the globe to a woefully unprepared company. Ryan, no longer an owner and far removed from design or construction of “The Spirit of St. Louis,” built a protective shell shielding him from the onrush of news media inquiries about his role in the saga; he kept the shell up for years. In 1928 Ryan formed The Ryan Aeronautical Company, whose Ryan ST (Sports Trainer) became a sportier Model T of flying. Ryan built the 1st jet-plus-propeller aircraft for the Navy and the 1st successful vertical takeoff & landing aircraft-the Ryan X13 Vertijet. His company pioneered remotely piloted vehicles and jet drones, Doppler systems and lunar landing radar. Like Lindbergh, Ryan ended up wealthy and widely acclaimed. Teledyne, Inc. acquired Ryan’s company in 1969 for $128 million.

ISP, 10 x 8 matte finish b&w Ryan official photograph (backstamp verso), seated portrait at desk in older age, nice inscription and religious sentiment to a minister celebrating his 100th birthday.”
Type: Photograph

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