T. (for Tubal) Claude Ryan was born January 3, 1898 at Parsons, KS and died
September 11, 1982. His name is most closely linked to the
Ryan NYP NX-211,
the "Spirit of St. Louis" flown by Charles
Lindbergh from New York to Paris in May 1927. Fair enough,
as this was a one-of-a-kind machine designed specifically
for that flight, and it did exactly the job it was designed
However, Ryan contributed mostly his name to the New York
to Paris endeavor. Needing capital, Ryan had become partners
with Benjamin Franklin Mahoney in April 1925. He was only
marginally involved financially in the company that manufactured
the New York to Paris aircraft, having sold his interest in
the company to Mahoney in 1926 (but he stayed on to manage
Two interesting artifacts of Ryan's early business life are below. These are souvenir flight certificates given to passengers who paid for an airplane ride at the Ryan Flying Company. The first card, dated Sunday, September 27, 1925, includes the name of the pilot, "Stowe," as well as the passenger, Mrs. T.M Woolley. Mrs. Woolley was the great-grandmother of the site visitor who contributed the image, Ron Jurek.
Ryan Flying Company Souvenir Flight Card, September 27, 1925 (Source: Jurek)
Mr. Jurek states that his great-grandmother, "...at age 61, took a Ryan Air Flight over San Diego on September 27,
1925. I found her Flight Certificate in a scrapbook." And further, "I found nothing in Mrs. Woolley's scrap book or in her other files related to flight. She had relatives in San Diego, so I suspect they took her to the airport for sightseeing." That her flight was on Sunday suggests this was the case.
The second card, below, (not a clear photo, but it's the best I have) was signed by Ryan as pilot, but listed no passenger name. It was dated Friday, January 16, 1925. This predates Ryan's partnership with Mahoney cited above, and it predates Mrs. Woolley's flight by about eight months. Note the price adjustment.
Ryan Flying Company Souvenir Flight Card, January 16, 1925 (Source: Champagne)
This card is shared with us by site visitor from Quebec, France Champagne. We know to whom the certificate was awarded. France states, "I can also tell you, even if the name of the client has not been written on the ticket, that it was George J. Stadler, the Manager of the San Diego Consolidated Brewing Company." The card states that patrons have, "...seen San Diego from the air on a WONDER AIR FLIGHT over the City and surroundings. It also cites Ryan's address as "Ocean Beach Road: Look for the Long Line of Planes."
During other flights, Ryan landed at Tucson twice, on September 13, 1927 (flying
a Waco 10, NC1444)
and September 4, 1929 (flying a Great Lakes 825K). These flights
seemed to be ferry flights of new aircraft. During his 1927 visit he was inspected by the U.S. Border Patrol. There is no reason given for the inspection.
Please refer to the links at left for more information. The
"Spirit of St. Louis" was just the beginning of
an illustrious career in aerospace. He became a Member
of the International Aerospace Hall of Fame, 1965. The link
has an image of him at that time.As you might imagine, the San Diego Aerospace Museum retains many artifacts of Ryan's aviation life. Below, some views of one of his earliest pilot log books. We see his signature and the tattered binding of this first log begun when he was in the military and first learned to fly.
T.C. Ryan, Pilot Log, 1920
Below, just inside the log, his flight training began at March Field on November 1, 1920. Training officer Peabody is not a Register pilot.
T.C. Ryan, Pilot Log, 1920
Below, the physical specifics of T.C. Ryan at the beginning of his flying career. He was a resident of Orange, CA, 22 years old, 5' 8" tall, brown hair and eyes, and single. His commanding officer, B.K. Yount, is not a Register pilot.
T.C. Ryan, Pilot Log, November 1, 1920- March 25, 1921
Below, his Pilot's School "report card" of March 25, 1921. He scored relatively high.
T.C. Ryan Flight School "Report Card", March 25, 1921
Below, a page from his log that covers November, 1920 to February, 1921. Register pilot Ned Schramm was Ryan's first flight instructor. Joe Baugher's site identifies the cited airplanes (44-906, et. seq.) as Curtiss model JN-6HG-1. From the looks of his log, Ryan solo'd with very few flight hours.
T.C. Ryan, Pilot Log, November, 1920- February, 1921
I conclude with this fanciful cartoon map of San Diego Bay,
which shows highlights of the area in 1937:
Notice the Ryan School of Aeronautics at center, with the
birthplace of the "Spirit of St. Louis" signified
with an arrow. You can see the Camp Kearney dirigible base,
and even the "paved highways from Los Angeles and Hollywood." The "Radio Station" labeled at top center is the Chollas Heights transmitter/receiver array.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/23/06 REVISED: 11/18/08, 02/17/09, 11/26/16