Spirit of St. Louis

The Spirit of St. Louis is the custom-built single engine, single seat monoplane that was flown solo by Charles Lindbergh on May 20–21, 1927, on the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris. It was named in honor of Lindbergh’s supporters in St. Louis, Missouri who paid for the aircraft.

The plane was designed by Donald A. Hall of Ryan Airlines. It was loosely based on Ryan Airlines’ Ryan M-2 mail plane, but had a longer range of distance. Ryan Airlines’ staff was able to design and build the Spirit in just 60 days, at a cost of $6,000. The Spirit was built at Ryan Airlines factory formerly located on Juniper Street east of the current San Diego International Airport. The plane was tested at nearby Dutch Flats Airfield which was located north of the current San Diego International Airport at the intersection of Barnett Avenue and Midway Drive.  At the time of construction of the Spirit, Ryan Airlines was owned by T. Claude Ryan and Benjamin Franklin Mahoney. In 1926, T. Claude Ryan sold his interest in the company to Mahoney but stayed on for a short period to manage the company. At the same time, T. Claude Ryan formed a separate company, Ryan Aeronautical Company. The new company constructed facilities at the current San Diego International Airport. There is no documentation supporting an association with the design and manufacturing of the Spirit of St. Louis at the Ryan Aeronautical Company facilities.

The Spirit of St. Louis