1958 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Ingenuity and love of what I did helped me to succeed."
T. Claude Ryan was born in 1898 in Parson, Kansas. As a boy, he mowed lawns and delivered The Saturday Evening Post. After moving with his family to California, Ryan sold his Model T Ford for $400 to purchase a war-surplus Jenny airplane in 1922. Operating from a small airstrip along the San Diego waterfront, he flew his Jenny on sight-seeing trips, gave private instruction, and occasionally went on barnstorming tours. From his earnings, he saved enough to buy six used Standard bi-planes and rebuilt them into enclosed-cabin transports. He started the first regularly scheduled year-round airline in the United States, with flights between San Diego and Los Angeles. Charles Lindbergh commissioned him to design The Spirit of St. Louis for the first non-stop Atlantic flight. The success of that venture launched Ryan Airlines into fame. The Ryan M-1 became the first quantity production monoplane in the country.* Deceased