25 February 1927

Ryan airplane factory at the foot of Juniper Street, San Diego, California. (Donald A. Hall Photograph & Document Collection)
Ryan airplane factory at the foot of Juniper Street, San Diego, California. (Donald A. Hall Photograph & Document Collection)
Charles A. Lindbergh (Harris & Ewing)
Charles A. Lindbergh (Harris & Ewing)

25 February 1927: Acting on behalf of a syndicate of St. Louis business men, Charles A. Lindbergh contracts Ryan Airlines Company of San Diego to design and build a single-engine monoplane for a flight from New York to Paris. This would become the Spirit of St. Louis. The cost is $10,580.

“The Ryan Airlines factory is in an old, dilapidated building near the waterfront. I feel conspicuous driving up to it in a taxicab. A couple of loafers stare at me as I pay my fare. There’s no flying field, no hangar, no sound of engines warming up; and the unmistakable smell of dead fish from a near-by cannery mixes with the banana odor of dope from drying wings. . .

“I open the door to a small, dusty, paper-strewn office. A slender young man advances to meet me—clear, piercing eyes, intent face. He introduces himself as Donald Hall, chief engineer for Ryan Airlines, Incorporated. . . .”

The Spirit of St. Louis, by Charles A. Lindbergh, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1953, Chapter III, Page 79.

“I check the wording and hand my telegram to the girl in the office. I’m ready to cast my lot with the Ryan organization. I believe in Hall’s ability; I like Mahoney’s enthusiasm. I have confidence in the character of the workmen I’ve met. This company is a fit partner for our organization in St. Louis. They’re as anxious to build a plane that will fly to Paris as I am to fly it there.”

The Spirit of St. Louis, by Charles A. Lindbergh, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1953, Chapter III, Page 85.

Donald A. Hall, deigner of the Ryan NYP, Spirit of St. Louis, at work in his office at the Ryan Airlines, Inc., factory, San Diego, CA, 1927. (Donald A Hall Collection)
Donald A. Hall, designer of the Ryan NYP, NX-211, Spirit of St. Louis, at work in his office at the Ryan Airlines, Inc., factory, San Diego, CA, 1927. (Donald A Hall Photograph & Document Collection)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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