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Ryan NYP / Spirit of St. Louis

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Early in 1927 Charles A. Lindbergh obtained the backing of several St. Louis men to compete for the $25,000 prize offered by Raymond Orteig in 1919 for the first non-stop flight between New York City and Paris. In February of that year Lindbergh placed an order with Ryan Airlines in San Diego for an aircraft with specifications necessary to make the flight.

Development began based on a standard Ryan M-2, with Donald A. Hall as principal designer, under the direct supervision of Charles Lindbergh. Certain modifications to the basic high-wing, strut-braced monoplane design had to be made because of the nature of the flight. The wingspan was increased by 10 feet, the ribs had to be spaced 11 in. apart instead of the usual 14-15 in, and the structural members of the fuselage and wing cellule were redesigned to accommodate the greater fuel load (around 2,750 lb). Plywood was fitted along the leading edge of the wings. The fuselage design followed that of a standard M-2 except that it was lengthened 2 feet and stream-lined, with no "step" for a windscreen. The cockpit was moved further to the rear for safety and the engine was moved forward for balance, thus permitting the fuel tank to be installed at the center of gravity, completely filling the fore-part of the fuselage, up to the roof. The pilot could see forward only by means of a periscope or by turning the aircraft to look out of a side window. A Wright Whirlwind J-5C engine supplied the power. The changes involved only 850 design man-hours of work.

Late in April 1927, the work on the aircraft was completed. It was painted silver and carried registration number N-X-211, which, with all other lettering on the plane, was painted in black. Lindbergh made several test flights, and then flew the aircraft from San Diego to New York on May 10-12, making only one stop, at St. Louis. His flight time of 21 hours, 40 minutes set a new transcontinental record.

After waiting several days in New York for favourable weather, Lindbergh took off for Paris alone, on the morning of May 20, 1927. Thirty-three hours, 30 minutes, and 3,610 miles later he landed safely at Le Bourget Field, near Paris, where he was greeted by a wildly enthusiastic crowd of 100,000.

No flight in history captured the imagination of the Public more than the solo flight across the Atlantic by 24-year-old Charles Lindbergh. from New York to Paris, In May, 1927. The distance of 3,610 miles and the time of 33 hrs 39 min spent alone in the air were formidable enough at an average speed of 107 m.p.h. (171 kph). Added to them was the fact that Lindbergh carried no radio or navigation aids, relying instead on dead reckoning, which brought him within three miles of his planned landfall in Ireland.

Lindbergh and the Spirit of St Louis returned to the United States aboard the U.S.S. Memphis on June 11. He received tumultuous welcomes in Washington, D.C. and New York City. From July 20 until October 23 of that year he took the famous plane on a tour of the United States. Then, on December 13, he and the Spirit of St. Louis flew nonstop from Washington to Mexico City; through Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico; and nonstop from Havana to St. Louis. Beginning in Mexico City, flags of the countries he visited were painted on both sides of the cowling. The two tubes beneath the fuselage are flare dispensers that were installed for Lindbergh's flights to Latin America and the Caribbean.

On April 30, 1928, the Spirit of St. Louis made its final flight - from St. Louis to Washington, D.C where Lindbergh presented the aircraft to the Smithsonian Institution.

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Replica:
Tallmantz Aviation Spirit of Saint Louis

 

Engine: One Wright J-5C Whirlwind, 200 hp / 165kW
Wing span: 46 ft (14.02 m)
Length: 27 ft 8 in / 8.4328 m
Height: 9 ft 10 in / 2.9992m
Wing area: 29.7 sq.m / 319.69 sq ft
Wing chord: 7 ft
Weight empty: 975 kg / 2150 lb
Weight loaded: 5135lb / 2329.2kg
Fuel capacity : 571 gal / 2160 lt
Cruise speed: 105 mph (170 kph)
Ceiling: 17,500 ft (5,300 m) fully loaded
Max speed: 124 mph
Crew: 1

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Ryan NYP Spirit of St.Louis

 

 


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