Ryan Aircraft

The Spirit of St. Louis is the custom-built, single engine, single-seat, that was flown solo by Charles Lindbergh

Ryan Spirit of St.Louis

Design and development

The Spirit of St. Louis (Registration: N-X-211) is the custom-built, single engine, single-seat, high wing monoplane that was flown solo by Charles Lindbergh on May 20 – 21, 1927, on the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight from Long Island, New York, to Paris, France, for which Lindbergh won the $25,000 Orteig Prize.


Lindbergh took off in the Spirit from Roosevelt Airfield, Garden City, New York, and landed 33 hours, 30 minutes later at Aéroport Le Bourget in Paris, France, a distance of approximately 3,600 miles (5,800 km).[3] One of the best-known aircraft in the world, the Spirit was built by Ryan Airlines in San Diego, California, owned and operated at the time by Benjamin Franklin Mahoney, who had purchased it from its founder, T. Claude Ryan, in 1926. The Spirit is on permanent display in the main entryway's Milestones of Flight gallery at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

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Officially known as the "Ryan NYP" (for New York to Paris), the single-engine monoplane was designed by Donald A. Hall of Ryan Airlines and named the "Spirit of St. Louis" in honor of Lindbergh's supporters from the St. Louis Raquette Club in his then hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. To save design time, the NYP was loosely based on the company's 1926 Ryan M-2 mailplane, the main difference being the NYP's 4,000-mile range. As a nonstandard design, the government assigned it the registration number N-X-211 (for "experimental"). Hall documented his design in "Engineering Data on the Spirit of St. Louis", which he prepared for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and is included as an appendix to Lindbergh's 1953 Pulitzer Prize winning book The Spirit of St. Louis.

Ryan Spirit of St.Louis

B.F. "Frank" Mahoney and Claude Ryan had co-founded the company as an airline in 1925 and Ryan remained with the company after Mahoney bought out his interest in 1926, although there is some dispute as to how involved Ryan may have been in its management after selling his share. It is known, however, that Hawley Bowlus was the factory manager who oversaw construction of the Ryan NYP, and that Mahoney was the sole owner at the time of Donald A. Hall's hiring.

Ryan Spirit of St.Louis: Specifications

  • History

    Role  Long-range aircraft

    Manufacturer  Ryan Airlines

    Designer  Donald A. Hall

    First flight  April 28, 1927

    Retired  April 30, 1928

    Produced  1927


  • General characteristics

    Number built  1 (not including later replicas and reproductions)

    Unit cost

    $10,580 ($144,931 in 2015)

    Developed from  Ryan M-2



  • Performance

    Registration  N-X-211

    First flight  April 28, 1927

    Owners and operators  Charles Lindbergh

    Flights  174

    Total hours  489 hours, 28 minutes

    Preserved at  National Air and Space Museum



Ryan Spirit of St.Louis


While not specifically designed for long-distance flights, the Universal was suitable for pioneering work. Charles Lindbergh had wanted to fly a Universal on his transatlantic flight but officials at the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation who reviewed his request in 1926, thought that Lindbergh's plans were too risky


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