Post war WWI saw a new surge in aviation design and innovation, as the lessons learnt in the great aerial battles above the trenches of Europe found their way back to the drafting tables of a new generation of aeronautical designers and engineers around the world.

The traditional canvas and wooden frames of those rudimentary biplanes soon found themselves being replaced by the new light-weigh steel and aluminium cockpits and fuselages of the1920’s and 30’s.

Advanced, reinforced wing spans began carrying more powerful high-performance engines as airspeeds and ceiling heights were challenged daily across both military and civilian aviation as new Aeronautical companies competed for this extremely lucrative business.  

One of the most innovative of these was the Ryan Aeronautical Company led by founder T. Claude Ryan.

Ryan Airlines had been the manufacturer of the Ryan NYP, more famously known as the Spirit of St. Louis – the custom-built, single engine, high-wing monoplane flown by renown aviator Charles Lindbergh on his record breaking solo nonstop transatlantic flight from Long Island New York to Paris France on May 20–21, 1927.

The Spirit Of St Louis had been based on the company’s 1926 Ryan M-2 mail plane with enlarged fuselage and wing tank fuel capacity. On the back of this aviation first and with the surge of private and commercial flying schools springing up across the US, Claude turned his attention to the civilian sports flying market.

He began with the development of the Ryan ST (Sports Trainer) in 1933.

Featuring two open cockpits in a semi-monologue all metal fuselage, the Ryan was built around two main frames – one steel and the other, a new aluminium alloy – Alclad. 

The Alclad framing took the high load of the wing spars which were in turn, heavily braced both above and below with diagonal tubular spars and flying wires to fuselage.

The heavily reinforced mono wings featured two outer wing panels with wooden spars, Alclad ribs and wire bracing to the fixed landing gear beneath and just below the cockpit rim on top.

Five of the ST’s were built with the original 95HP Menasco B4 engine which proved too underpowered which led to the development of the ST-A (Aerobatic) with a more powerful 125HP Menasco C4.

The ST-A proved to be extremely popular, high-performance civilian trainer and it wasn’t long before the US Air Force began enquiring about a military version.

Ryan Aeronautical were quick to respond and in 1937 began delivery of the first of militarised versions (STM) to the US Air Force and the US Navy, which were equipped with floats. 

The STM series had a number of modifications including an enlarged cockpit to accommodation military pilots wearing parachutes plus additional fuselage strengthening to support a machine gun.

Other changes included a revised rudder, balanced ailerons and elevators, plus a strengthened main landing gear with the legs spaced further apart. 

In 1942 Ryan produced the ST-3KR, which featured the more powerful Kinner R-5 engine

More than 1000 military versions of this model were built during WWII known as the PT-22 Recruit.

Many STM’s were exported in the 1930s and 1940s to other air forces prior to the US entry into WWII. The biggest of these was the Netherlands East Indies military (Indonesia), with some of these were exported as float plane versions.  Another 50 STM’s were exported to Nationalist China including a small consignment to South America. 

When the Japanese invaded Indonesia, many STM’s were pressed into combat but were no match for the advanced Japanese fighters and large numbers were shot down or destroyed on the ground. The surviving STM-2s that had escaped capture, were shipped to Australia where they entered service with the RAAF as advanced trainers.

At the end of WWII, those still in service were transferred to the Australian Civil register with many still flying today - some 80 years after they were built.

All Ryan STA Sports Trainer Instruments listed below come complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.



    Vintage Ryan STA, 2 inch, Brass Venturi Tube