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Ryan NYP (Spirit of St. Louis)

Record-Setting Long-Range Aircraft


The Ryan NYP - New-York-to-Paris - was the record-setting aircraft of choice for the Charles Lindbergh flight across the Atlantic.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Ryan NYP (Spirit of St. Louis) Record-Setting Long-Range Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 1/29/2019. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Ryan NYP that was flown by aviation pioneer Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974) was a heavily-modified Ryan M-2 which was, itself, based on the earlier M-1 mailplane. The M-1 was produced through 36 total examples and saw a first-flight occur on February 14th, 1926. Its career was mainly centered on delivery routes where its short-field qualities and good range allowed it to flourish in civilian-minded service. The original design carried one crewman, could seat up to two passengers in the cabin and was driven by a single Hispano-Suiza 8A engine of 150 horsepower driving a two-bladed wooden propeller. Maximum speed was 125 miles per hour with a range out to 400 miles.

Lindbergh left his studies at the University of Wisconsin to pursue aeronautics and this landed him a position at Nebraska Aircraft Corporation. For the period of two years, he performed in the classic "barnstorming" exhibits traveling the United States before formally enlisting in the United States Army Air Service (USAAS). After that he accepted an courier position on a route that covered St. Louis, Missouri to Chicago, Illinois.

In 1927, Lindbergh gained the support of financiers with the goal of competing in the Raymond Orteig-sponsored $25,000 prize that called for an aircraft and aviator to travel from New York to Paris non-stop. This led the Lindbergh team to select the M-2 as a starting point for a long-range design and modifications were made by Donald Hall to increase its performance for the attempt. The wings were stretched some 10 feet and two feet were added to the fuselage. Power came from a single Wright J-5C "Whirlwind" engine driving a two-bladed propeller unit in the nose. The cockpit was moved further aft to allocate internal volume for fuel and this blocked all forward vision for the pilot. A periscope or the side windows had to be used to view oncoming terrain and airspace. The wheeled main legs were fixed and the wing mainplanes high-mounted while being braced by struts for additional strength.

The aircraft was made ready by April 1927 and the test phase soon followed. A May 10th-12th flight took the aircraft from San Diego to New York with the sole stop becoming St. Louis - achieving a transcontinental record of 21 hours, 40 minutes. From New York, the aircraft - with Lindbergh at the controls - then left for Paris on his historical run which took 33 hours, 30 minutes. He arrived with aircraft intact at Le Bourget Field outside of Paris and over 100,000 onlookers eagerly waiting. Lindbergh forever solidified his name in aviation history with this single flight and went on to tour the United States, Latin America, and South America in the period that followed as a world-renowned hero.

The Ryan NYP was flown on April 30th, 1928 by Lindbergh from St. Louis to Washington, D.C. for handing over to the Smithsonian Institution where it remains protected today.


YEAR: 1927
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Ryan Aircraft Company - USA
LENGTH: 27.56 ft (8.4 m)
WIDTH: 45.93 ft (14 m)
HEIGHT: 9.84 ft (3 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 2,150 lb (975 kg)
MTOW: 5,137 lb (2,330 kg)
POWER: 1 x Wright Whirlwind J-5C engine developing 223 horsepower while driving a two-bladed propeller.
SPEED: 134 mph (215 kph; 116 kts)
CEILING: 16,404 feet (5,000 m; 3.11 miles)
RANGE: 4,101 miles (6,600 km; 3,564 nm)
OPERATORS: United States

Variants / Models

• NYP ("New York to Paris") - Base Series Name
• Spirit of St. Louis - Nickname
• N-X-211 - Registration number

Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (134mph).

Graph average of 112.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Ryan NYP (Spirit of St. Louis)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (1)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
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Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
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* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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