Ryan Brougham


The Ryan Brougham was a small single-engine airliner produced in the United States in the late 1920s and early 1930s.[1] Its design was reminiscent of the M-1 mailplane first produced by Ryan in 1926, and like it, was a high-wing, strut-braced monoplane of conventional design.[1]

Ryan B-5 Brougham San Diego.jpg
Ryan B-5 Brougham NC9236 displayed in the San Diego Aerospace Museum in 1990
Role Airliner
National origin United States
Manufacturer Ryan Aeronautical
Designer Donald A. Hall
First flight 1927
Number built 212

Design and developmentEdit

Unlike the M-1, the Brougham had a fully enclosed cabin for the pilot and four passengers.[1] The Brougham prototype was derived from the later M-2 and was powered by a 150 hp Hisso [3226] engine. Originally priced at $12,200, the price was reduced to $9,700 when fitted with a Wright J-5, and $5,750 with Hisso. One Brougham was fitted with floats.[2] The only common parts between the famous Spirit of St. Louis and the first Ryan B-1s were the tail surfaces and a few of the wing fittings. Later B-1 Brougham production versions had no common parts.[2]

Operational historyEdit

The first production B-1 Brougham was ordered by a local hotel owner, but was delivered instead to well-known pilot Frank Hawks and was named "The Gold Bug".

Charles Lindbergh had come to the factory to examine that first B-1, but had instead ordered a completely new aircraft to his specifications. He used the Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis on his record-breaking transatlantic flight of 1927. Hawks renamed his B-1 "Spirit of San Diego" and flew to Washington with his wife to greet the triumphant Lindbergh. In the ensuing glare of publicity, Hawks was hired by the Ryan Aircraft company to be its official representative.

With the public idolizing Lindbergh, Hawks toured the country, selling rides in the aircraft "like Lindy flew." His Spirit was actually painted gold, but looked the part to the public.[3] Another reason for the success of the Brougham was its performance at the 1927 National Air Races in Spokane, Washington where Hawks, who had obtained a contract with Maxwell House Coffee, with the now renamed "Miss Maxwell House" came in first for speed in the Detroit news Air Transport Speed and Efficiency Trophy Race.[3] Later, at the 1928 Ford Tudor Reliability Trial and Air Tour, Hawks placed sixth in "Miss Maxwell House".[4]

Hawks popularized the type, which stimulated demand among small airlines and charter operators.[5] The Brougham not only sold well in the domestic market, but was exported to China, Guatemala, Mexico and Salvador.[5] Production peaked at 20 per month[1] but was eventually halted by worsening economic conditions in the United States[4] that led to the sale of the Ryan factory in October 1930.[6]

The 'Aotearoa'Edit

Lindbergh's successful trans-Atlantic flight led to a slightly modified Ryan Brougham being ordered for the first attempted trans-tasman flight between Australia and New Zealand.[7] Named 'Aotearoa', the Māori name for New Zealand, and crewed by New Zealanders John Moncrieff and George Hood the aircraft left Richmond, near Sydney on 10 January 1928, on a flight expected to take about 14 hours. Radio signals were heard from the 'Aotearoa' for 12 hours before abruptly ceasing. The aviators failed to arrive in New Zealand, and no trace of them or their aircraft has ever been found.[7]

Surviving aircraftEdit

As of 2001, only four complete Broughams were preserved,[8] one at the San Diego Air & Space Museum,[9] and the other three were modified to look like the Spirit of St. Louis for the 1957 movie starring Jimmy Stewart as Charles Lindbergh. One of the movie Ryans is at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.[10] The second movie Ryan is at The Henry Ford Museum. The third movie Ryan was hanging in the Terminal 1 at Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri when it was removed in 1998. Over the next few years, restoration work continued on another three aircraft, one owned by the Yanks Air Museum[11] and two by Scott Gifford of Hood River, OR.[12] One of the later two Broughams features modifications made in September 1927 to accommodate the transport of MGM mascot Leo the Lion on a transcontinental flight; many of its passenger cabin fittings were removed to make room for Leo's cage .[12] Although this aircraft subsequently crashed en route, neither the pilot nor Leo were injured.[12]


  • B-1 - initial production version with Wright J-5 engine (ca 150 built)[13]
  • B-2 - one-off version with extended wingspan for Charles Lindbergh promotional tour (1 built)[13]
  • B-3 - version with roomier cabin, sixth seat and larger tail (9 built)[13]
  • B-5 - production version with Wright J-6 engine (61 built)[13]
  • B-7 - version with Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine (8 built)[13]


Data from: Munson 1982a, p. 129.

  • Aeronáutica del Sur
  • Bowman Airways
  • Corporación Aeronáutica de Transportes
  • Embry-Riddle
  • National Airlines
  • Pickwick Latin American Airways
  • Pike's Peak Airlines
  • Robertson Airplane Service
  • Ryan Airlines
  • Thompson Flying Service
  • Tri-State Airlines

Specifications (B-1)Edit

Ryan B-2 Brougham 3-view drawing Aero Digest May 1928

Data from [6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One pilot
  • Capacity: 4 passengers
  • Length: 27 ft 9 in (8.46 m)
  • Wingspan: 42 ft 0 in (12.80 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)
  • Wing area: 270 sq ft (25.1 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,870 lb (848 kg)
  • Gross weight: 3,300 lb (1,497 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wright J-5 , 225 hp (168 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 125 mph (201 km/h, 109 kn)
  • Range: 700 mi (1,130 km, 610 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 16,000 ft (4,900 m)

See alsoEdit

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era



  1. ^ a b c d Taylor 1989, p. 772.
  2. ^ a b "Ryan Brougham." www.aerofiles.com, 25 November 2008. Retrieved: 3 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b Daniels 1969, p. 45.
  4. ^ a b Munson 1982a, p. 129.
  5. ^ a b Munson 1982b, p. 24.
  6. ^ a b The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft 1985, p. 2835.
  7. ^ a b Rudge, C.J., 2001, ‘Missing! Aircraft missing in New Zealand 1928 – 2000’, Adventure Air, Lyttelton, New Zealand, ISBN 0-473-08119-9
  8. ^ Stoff 2001, p. 20.
  9. ^ "Collections"
  10. ^ "Ryan NYP 'Spirit of St. Louis'"
  11. ^ "Aircraft Restoration"
  12. ^ a b c Hearn 2006
  13. ^ a b c d e Taylor 1989, p. 773.


  • "Aircraft Restoration." Yanks Air Museum. Retrieved: 3 March 2009.
  • "Collection." San Diego Air & Space Museum. Retrieved: 3 March 2009.
  • Daniels, C.M. "Speed: The Story of Frank Hawks." Air Classics, Vol. 6, No. 2, December 1969.
  • Hearn, Gail. "A Brougham fit for a King." Air & Space, 1 March 2006. Retrieved: 3 March 2009.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft. London: Aerospace Publishing, 1985.
  • Munson, Kenneth. Airliners from 1919 to the Present Day. London: Peerage Books, 1982a. ISBN 0-907408-36-2.
  • Munson, Kenneth. U.S. Commercial Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing, 1982b. ISBN 0-86720-628-4.
  • "Ryan NYP 'Spirit of St. Louis'." Cradle of Aviation Museum. Retrieved: 3 March 2009.
  • Taylor, Michael J.H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989. ISBN 0-517-10316-8.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Ryan Brougham at Wikimedia Commons