Ryan B-1 NC5217, below, landed at Tucson twice on September
11, 1928 (westbound El Paso, TX to Yuma, AZ) and September 21,
1928 (eastbound Los Angeles, CA to El Paso). The annotation
with the original photograph reads, "Ryan B-1, Wright
J-5-9 220 HP, NC5217 c/n 105 October 1928,
D. Roy Bradford’s of New Castle". As can be seen
on the side of the fuselage, Mr. Bradford was manager of
New Castle Aircraft, Inc.
Both visits to Tucson it was flown by New Castle's pilot,
Raymond J. Merritt. He carried eastbound as passenger D.
Roy Bradford. They identified their home base as New Castle,
PA. The image below was taken within a month after they landed
D. Roy Bradford With Ryan B-1 NC5217 (Source: Klein Archive)
Their passing through Tucson was with purpose. They were
competing in the 1928 National Air Races (NAR) Class "B" Transcontinental
race from New York to Los Angeles. Merritt placed 12th in
the race with an elapsed time of 33:59:32, about 11 hours
behind the winner, the superlative John
Below is another photograph of NC5217 courtesy of Colleen Apte (left sidebar). Ms. Apte estimates the date of the photograph as after, "...May 1928 and before October 1929."
Ryan B-1 NC5217, Ca. 1928-29, Probably Kansas City, MO (Source: Apte)
The people in the photograph are unidentified. If you can help identify them, please let me KNOW. Note that NC5217 still has the New Castle Aircraft, Inc. sign on the fuselage. I could be that one of the people is pilot Raymond J. Merritt. And it could be that this was a scheduled stop in Kansas City while Merritt and Bradford were going to or from the NAR.
UPLOADED: 09/28/07 REVISED: 11/06/07, 07/24/14