The Vagabond – Local connection to Lindbergh flight

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By Danny Crownover

A story was written in 1927 to the effect that the mechanical wherewithal of Sand Mountain resident Claude Ryan helped made it possible for Charles A. Lindbergh (pictured at right) to make the first airplane trip across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris.
Ryan came from a family that founded by Thomas Ryan, a Sand Mountain farmer who settled at Grove Oak near Crossville in DeKalb County.
Thomas Ryan emigrated to America from Dublin, Ireland, soon after he completed his apprenticeship as a cabinet maker. He landed in New York and shortly afterward found his way to Hall County, Georgia, where he followed his trade and became a farmer.
Ryan married at age 36 and reared eight children, one of whom was Albert Ryan, who had a son named Marion Ryan.
Marion’s son Claude owned and ran the Ryan Brothers Corporation, a noted airplane building concern. He and Charles Lindbergh spent many long hours together in preparing for the flight from New York to Paris, of which Claude provided basic mechanical factors.
When the flight was first financed, Lindbergh and his associates intended to select a monoplane manufactured in New York but failed to come to satisfactory terms. Lindbergh took the matter up with the Ryan Brothers Corporation and soon arranged to have his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis,”built by the company.
The original estimate of cost was $14,000 and the sale price $25,000, which included most of the equipment and allowed for the payment of royalties and other overhead costs as well as a profit.
The final agreement was that Lindbergh would receive the plane for $10,500.
Contact The Vagabond at dkcrown@bellsouth.net.

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