T. Claude Ryan bigraphy, stories - American aviator

T. Claude Ryan : biography

January 3, 1898 - September 11, 1982

Tubal Claude Ryan (January 3, 1898 – September 11, 1982) was an Irish-American aviator born in Parsons, Kansas. Ryan was best known for founding several airlines and aviation factories.

Later years

After his retirement Ryan formed a new company with his son Jerome to develop and market the Ryan ST-100 Cloudster, a motor glider the elder Ryan had designed. The aircraft was type certified as both a light aircraft and powered glider, but Ryan died before production was commenced and only one was completed.Said, Bob. "1983 Sailplane Directory." Soaring Magazine, Soaring Society of America, November 1983, p. 126. Federal Aviation Administration, July 1983. Retrieved: March 16, 2011. Federal Aviation Administration, July 1983. Retrieved: March 16, 2011.

Ryan died on Saturday, September 11, 1982, in San Diego, California. He was interred at the Cypress View Mausoleum and Crematory. He was survived by his wife, Zeta Gladys Bowen Ryan (1899–1997). findagrave.com. Retrieved: May 9, 2012.

Early years

Ryan began his flying career in 1917 when he enrolled in the American School of Aviation at Venice, California. Aerofiles. Retrieved: May 9, 2012. After making his first solo flight, he was accepted into the Army Air Service with an under-age waiver. The day that he was to report to the recruiting station, the armistice was signed, ending his prospects for a military flying career. Instead, Ryan went to Oregon State College and studied Engineering for less than a year, then was accepted into the Aeronautical Division of the U.S. Army (later known as the United States Army Air Corps). With the Army, Ryan learned to fly at March Field, California, where he graduated in 1921 allstar. Retrieved: May 9, 2012. with a pursuit pilot rating. Ryan flew forestry patrol duty until his enlistment ended in 1922. Ryan then went to San Diego and sold barnstorming rides to pay for a military surplus Curtiss JN-4 Jenny.

Business career


Ryan's first employee was William Hawley Bowlus, who had been the mechanic at the first flying school Ryan attended. One of his students was a wealthy young stock broker and real-estate developer named Benjamin Franklin Mahoney. Ryan sold half of the Ryan Flying Company to B. F. Mahoney on April 25, 1925. With Mahoney's funding, they bought Donald Douglas's first complete aircraft, the Douglas Cloudster," which Douglas had built to attempt the first non-stop transcontinental flight. A broken engine part grounded that flight in El Paso, Texas and by the time they had made the necessary repairs, a pair of military pilots accomplished the feat in a Fokker.

Bowlus modified the Cloudster to carry 10 passengers. With the modified Cloudster and three Standards that Bowlus had modified to carry four passengers each, they founded "The San Diego - Los Angeles Airlines," the first all-year airplane passenger service in the United States. It began operation on March 1, 1925 ferrying passengers on a regular schedule between San Diego, California and Los Angeles, California.

Ryan Airlines

The company's next venture was to build aircraft to fit the requirements of the new Airmail service. The first aircraft this company, Ryan Airlines, produced was called the Ryan M-1 mail plane developed in 1926.It was the first production monoplane in the country. The so-called Ryan M-1 of the 1920s is in actuality a monoplane designed and engineered by William J. Waterhouse of Glendale, California's Grand Central Airport in 1924 (Waterhouse and Royer Airplane Company). In 1925, Ryan purchased construction blueprints of the Waterhouse/Royer Monoplane "Cruzair." William Hawley Bowlus built the craft in a San Diego waterfront cannery building. Ryan painted his logo on the plane's rudder and immediately marketed it as the Ryan M-1. In an effort to disclaim plagiary, Ryan displayed his copy of the monoplane on an elevated platform at the airfield (Dutch Flat in San Diego), sporting a large banner saying "Built in San Diego" (photo on file at San Diego Air and Space Museum, 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101). Compounding and confusing the historical origins of the M-1, Ryan submitted Waterhouse's Cruzair design to the U.S. Patent Office as his own, and in 1929 Ryan was awarded "inventor" status for Waterhouse's monoplane design.

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