The Ryan M-1 was a mail plane produced in the United States in the 1920s, the first original design built by Ryan.[2] It was a conventional gear parasol-wing monoplane with two open cockpits in tandem and fixed, tailskid undercarriage.[3]

M-1 and M-2
Original Ryan M-1 NC2073 in Pacific Air Transport markings in the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum, Creve Coeur airport, Missouri.
Role Mailplane
National origin United States
Manufacturer Ryan
Designer Hawley Bowlus, W A Mankey, John Northrop[1]
First flight 14 February 1926
Status two airworthy in 2009
Number built 36

Design and development edit

The follow-on M-2 was substantially the same as the M-1.[2] The prototype M-1 was originally powered by a Hispano-Suiza 8A, but production examples featured a variety of engines in the same general power range, with the Wright J-4B chosen for nine of the sixteen M-1s built,[2] and the prototype later refitted with this engine.[4]

According to Cassagneres, "Dimensions allowed for a front cockpit that could accommodate two passengers side by side, or one passenger and a sack of mail, or just mail sacks and no passenger. Dual controls were provided, so a passenger flying up front could get in some 'stick time' if he wished. The M-1 cowling had a feature that was to become almost a trademark on all subsequent Ryan models up to the ST. This was the distinctive 'engine-turning' or 'jeweling' effect achieved by burnishing the aluminum.[5]

Operational history edit

A M-1 was flown in the 1926 Ford National Reliability Air Tour.[6]

Pacific Air Transport operated J-4B-powered M-1s and M-2s on their demanding SeattleSan FranciscoLos Angeles mail route,[7] while Hispano-Suiza-powered machines flew with Colorado Airways between Cheyenne and Pueblo[2] and Yukon Airways between Whitehorse and Dawson City.[7]

One M-2 (named Bluebird) was built with a fully enclosed cabin for the pilot and four passengers, foreshadowing Ryan's highly successful Brougham series.[7] The standard M-2, meanwhile, was Charles Lindbergh's first choice for his transatlantic flight.[8] His list of requirements for the aircraft soon made it apparent, however, that rather than modifying an M-2, it would be more effective to build an all-new design along the same general lines, which resulted in the Ryan NYP Spirit of St Louis.[8]

Operators edit

  United States

Aircraft on display edit

The M-1 prototype was restored to flying condition between 1980 and 1984 and is preserved in the Museum of Flight in Seattle.[3] The seventh aircraft is preserved in airworthy condition in Pacific Air Transport markings at the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum at Creve Coeur airport, Missouri.[9] A replica of an M-1 using a small number of parts from serial number 11 was built by Andy King in 2001, powered by a Lycoming R-680 and also painted in Pacific Air Transport #7's scheme.[10] Serial number 11 is owned and faces a full restoration by John Norman, who crafted the most accurate reproduction of the Spirit of St. Louis ever built.[11][12] A replica M-1 is exhibited in the San Diego Air & Space Museum.[13]

Specifications (M-1) edit

Data from "Ryan M-1"

General characteristics

  • Crew: One pilot
  • Capacity: 1-2 passengers [1]
  • Length: 24 ft 0 in (7.30 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 0 in (11.00 m)
  • Wing area: 228 sq ft (21 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,550 lb (705 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,700 lb (1,230 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Hispano-Suiza 8A , 150 hp (110 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 125 mph (200 km/h, 109 kn)
  • Range: 400 mi (640 km, 350 nmi)

References edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ a b "Ryan, Ryan-Douglas, Ryan-Flamingo, Ryan-Standard"
  2. ^ a b c d Taylor 1989, p. 774.
  3. ^ a b "Ryan M-1"
  4. ^ Museum of Flight News
  5. ^ Cassagneres, Ev (1982). The Spirit of Ryan. Blue Ridge Summit: TAB BOOKS Inc. pp. 26–27.
  6. ^ Forden, Lesley. The Ford Air Tours: 1925-1931. New Brighton Minnesota: Aviation Foundation of America, 2003, First edition 1972. No ISBN.
  7. ^ a b c Munson 1982, p. 128.
  8. ^ a b Hall 1927, p. 1.
  9. ^ Ogden 2007, p. 331.
  10. ^ "A New Ryan M-1 Mailplane". Skyways. October 2001.
  11. ^ Podsada, Janice (2019-08-11). "This might be the best Spirit of St. Louis replica ever made". Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  12. ^ "Projects". JNE Aircraft, LLC. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  13. ^ "Collections"

Bibliography edit

External links edit