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Tuesday, May 20, 2014


The Spirit of St. Louis, the plane that carried Charles Lindbergh into history, was built in San Diego. The "Spirit" is photographed on a test flight in the spring of 1927 over Mission Bay with Belmont Park and Mission in the background.
San Diego History Center
BEFORE LINDBERGH’S SOLO FLIGHT ACROSS THE ATLANTIC—The money was raised in St. Louis to build the plane that aviator Charles Lindbergh flew into history.

But as many of us know, the aircraft that soared majestically over the Atlantic Ocean on May 20-21, 1927, was built in San Diego.  But before it flew from America to Europe, the “Spirit” flew over Belmont Park as seen above in a rare San Diego History Center photograph.

The following is from
Colonel Charles Lindbergh
“...In February, 1927, less than 24 hours after hearing of Lindbergh's search for a single-engine plane, the Ryan Aeronautical Company of San Diego, California offered to build such a plane for $6,000. Again, excluding the engine. Ryan, founded by T. Claude Ryan and led by company president Frank Mahoney, would need three months to manufacturer Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis." Upon arriving at the Ryan headquarters to meet with Mahoney and chief engineer and designer Donald Hall, Lindbergh was unimpressed with what he saw.

“Ryan Airlines was housed in a broken down building that used to be a fish cannery. A discouraging stench filled the air. After meeting with Mahoney and Hall, however, Lindbergh's spirits were much improved. The men voiced full confidence in Lindbergh's choice of a single-engine plane and Lindbergh was won over by their apparent skill and dedication, even after he informed them that the plane would have to be completed in two months, not three. From that moment on, Donald Hall practically lived at Ryan Airlines. His commitment was matched by that of his staff, as voluntary overtime became the norm. These men sensed they were becoming part of something historic.”
Left to right: Ryan Aeronautical Company owner B.F. Mahoney, Col. Lindbergh
and aircraft designer/builder David Hall
By July, 1927 Mahoney had bought out Ryan and changed the name of the firm to B.F. Mahoney Aircraft Corp.  Decades later in San Diego the company name was changed to Teledyne Ryan.  It is still located north of Harbor Drive, across the street from San Diego Lindbergh Field International Airport.

courtesy of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine and San Diego History Center

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