Mahoney-Ryan Aircraft Corporation
Ryan Aeronautical Corporation

Founded 1928 at St Louis, Missouri, as Mahoney-Ryan Aircraft Corporation, deriving from Ryan Airlines, which began operations on U.S. West Coast in 1922.

Ryan was in partnership with B.F. Mahoney. Conflict between the two led Ryan to sell out of the company that bore his name, only to see it become world-famous less than a year later as the builder of Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, a larger descendant of the M-1.

In 1926 began manufacture of Ryan M-1 mailplane from which Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic Ryan NYP Spirit of St Louis was developed in 1927. Commercial version of the latter, Ryan Brougham, was built in quantity.

Ryan merged with Detroit Aircraft Corporation in 1929, but DAC did not survive the slump in 1930-1931.

T. Claude Ryan formed Ryan Aeronautical Company in 1933-1934 and produced the S-T training monoplane, forerunner of a series of successful Ryan trainers. The S-T became the Army's basic trainer; his school won contracts to train thousands of Army pilots, and his subsidiary bases multiplied. During the war, his business grew from $1 million to $55 million.

The YO-51 Dragonfly of 1940 was observation monoplane built for the USAAC. A new fighter for the U.S. Navy in 1943 reflected a "belt and braces" outlook on the new gas turbine engine, having a mixed powerplant comprising a conventional piston engine and rear-fuselage jet. Known as the FR-1 Fireball, it was too late to see operational service in Second World War.

The end of the war came as a blow to Ryan, as it did to all airframe manu-facturers whose lucrative contracts were abruptly cancelled. For a while, the company went into the lugubrious business of building metal coffins; then it took over the Navion from North American in 1947 and built the plane until the Korean War.

Ryan developed to a mid-1950s USAF contract the X-13 Vertijet, a delta-wing vertical-take-off jet with Rolls-Royce Avon engine. A flex-wing research aircraft was built in 1961, and the XV-5A lift-fan research aircraft followed in 1964. Development of the "fan-in-wing" VTOL principle continued with two prototype aircraft, later restyled XV-5B.