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75th Anniversary of the Ryan and Stearman Fly-in May 19-22 2016

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75th Anniversary Ryan Fly-in

On May 19th, five Ryans lifted off from their respective airports to Gillespie Field, El Cajon, California to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the airplane often dubbed, the "Maytag Messerschmidt". It was evident the moment you laid eyes on them that some serious time had been spent on polishing for they all looked better than the day they left the factory not so far away. Bill Allen's incredible complex, surrounded by grass plots that magically features whatever parks there, was already filling with Stearmans which joined the weekend of celebration. The weather surpassed the forecast of gloom and presented days for showing off all the sounds and sights that accompany airplanes of that era. The Ryans took to the air many times throughout the days to show folks that seventy-five years is only a start for the airplane that was designed to last only a very limited time...it's job was to prepare cadets to fly something heavier, faster, and more complex. The Ryan did that job better than most trainers with its particular flying characteristics. It was interesting to overhear conversations during the weekend about the differences in flying the Stearman or the Ryan and who felt which was more challenging?

Three other Ryans were on hand, ...the late Mike Sullivan's on view, Ray Rose's in a hangar, and Bill Allen's in the event hangar. Around twenty-seven biplanes made up the rest of the color and sounds at the event, most of them Stearman's...equally outstanding airplanes! There was a Travelaire, Bill's beautiful C3R Stearman Business Speedster, Bill's PT-17 that had been Steve McQueen's Stearman, a rare Laird, and Jimmy Allen's Richfield Oil Model 4 Speedmail Stearman... gorgeous, ...incomparable. There was also a full-scale replica Spitfire with an Allison engine. Yeah! Bill had four "squaretails" in his hangar during this event...of course they came out in the daylight and flew. On Saturday we had a fly-out to Pauma Valley Airpark for a wonderful greeting by the locals and homemade scones and lemon curd, hamburgers/hot dogs to fuel us for the 29nm trip home. Those of us that had to drive had a good view of the many formation flights of like aircraft coming around the canyon bend on their approach, and, we even made it back in time to see their arrivals at Gillespie.

Dave Masters treated all of us to a technical talk on prop making, which he has participated in for years with Guy Watson and Ole Fahlin. The event was well-attended, however short on Ryans compared to years past. Cameras/cellphones captured it all. I am including some of what I took in free moments in the Gallery. I do not consider myself a photog and I only had my iPhone. Still,... they capture the feeling. The best was catching up with old friends! Join us...let's do it again and often!

In attendance representing the Ryan Club:
Bill and Claudia Allen, Gillespie Field, Ryan STM-2
Margot and Roel Goethals from The Netherlands (have a Ryan PT-22 project in progress)
Dietmar Grosz from Austria ( has a Flying Ryan PT-22)
Randy Weselmann from Bainbridge, Indiana (has a Ryan PT-22 project in progress)
Danny Don, flying out of Chandler, AZ, (Ryan PT-22 in attendance)
Gary Jackson, flying out of Santa Paula, CA (Ranger-engined Ryan PT-22 in attendance)
Jay Cawley from Washington State (long time family-owned flying Ryan PT-22s and STM)
Terry and Jenny Friedman, flying out of Cable Airport, (Ryan PT-22 in attendance)
Doug and Beverly Schuster, flying out of Cable (CAF-owned Ryan PT-22 in attendance)
Dave Masters, has a flying PT-20A in Morgan Hill at the Museum
Chris and Belia Nehus, Flying out of Camarillo, (Ryan PT-22 in attendance)
Ray Rose, flying out of Gillespie Field, (Ryan PT-22 in hangar)
Lynne and Ken Orloff, flying out of Pine Mountain Lake, CA, (flying PT-22 left at home...flew our Lancair IV-P)
Mike Sullivan's Ryan PT-22 now in San Diego Air Museum, on view for event
Visiting were Ev Casagneres' Son Bryan and daughter (Ev was often called Mr. ST-A)
Visiting was T. Claude Ryan's son, Jerry
If I forgot anyone, I apologize...

We had a wonderful event and felt we needed to get the group together more often! Any suggestions? :)
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