Nate Sturman's Ryan B1 Brougham


There are few aircraft about which as much bull abounds as the Brougham. The first Brougham was technically a renamed Bluebird Cabin plane which had just gone into production when Lindy walked in the door that fateful day in 1927. The NYP Special then became the new basis for an all new commercial planes called the Brougham, the first of which was the Gold Bug built for Frank Hawks right after the Lindbergh flight. Within a few weeks the B1 was the best selling plane in the US and this continued until the summer of 1928, when unsold planes began to pile up at San Diego and the company moved to St Louis and finally Detroit, under the Detroit Acft umbrella. They set all sorts of records and made many famous flights, such as Zhang Huichang's incredible China tour in the B-1 "Guangzhou", cn 143, a short winged Brougham on the cusp of change to the later type B-1 with cameo rear windows.

Avrum Zier did a "B-2" but the acft he modeled was a B-5. B-2 was a classification of convenience for NX Broughams to be recertified as NCs. A long wing (46 foot, like Excelsior Mexico) version was available for Lindy imitators; most were 42 feet. The Chiang Kai-shek (Chung Cheng/Zhongzheng) Aviation Museum in Taoyuan, Taiwan sent a fine account in Chinese of the Guangzhou flight/tour, in which the plane is incorrectly stated to be an NYP-2, which it emphatically was NOT. I have a few pix of the Guangzhou and its sister ship Pearl River (Zhujiang) and much info from the San Diego Museum/Ryan Archives etc. Zhang Huichang was a US trained flyer (Codie School of Aviation in New York, 1917 graduated with FAI instructor's certificate and went back to China. Served in many aviation posts, as politician and Nanjing's/Taipei's Ambassador to Cuba, d 1980.

Despite the bull on some websites, Ryan Broughams weren't built in China in 1923 (Ryan hadn't yet built any plane then!) or in the 30's or any other time, although L.E. Gale, the distributor, had a great shop and did painting, repairs etc for the Chinese. (It was Gale who intoduced his employee Robert Short to TV Soong during the 1932 Shanghai War, but that is another story...)

Model specs:
Span 21.07"
Weight 43 grams with rubber and ballast

Construction is keel and former, model has "working" shocks. Esaki covering clear doped and painted with Gunze Mr Color No8 silver (acrylic). Chinese characters "Guangzhou" (Canton) on sides of aft fuselage, front to back, 1926-29 red-bordered KMT roundel, rare insignia. 6" Tern prop cut down to 5.75" for LG clearance in balsa spinner. Drawings, English itinerary of flight on request. The documents in the picture: The Wang Yunwu Dictionary of 1928, a remarkably modern work which dealt with the newly unified Chinese language on modern principles with the famed "4-corner Classification System", a copy of the opening page of the "Great Learning," a Confucian text (originally from the Book of Rites, annotated and included in the "Four Books" by Zhu Xi,) very important in China, and a page from from the primer "Three Character Classic" that states: "Learn history old and new and memorize its lessons until you can see it as if with your own eyes, knowledge conquers ignorance, and law controls chaos."

Zhang's fight: Nov-Dec 1928, Canton(Guangzhou)-Nanchang-Nanjing-Beijing-Shenyang then return via Tianjin, Shanghai and Fuzhou.
About 3800 miles, seven cities with major press coverage, one of the great events of the time in China.

Thank's for the posting!
Nate Sturman


Copyright 1998, Thayer Syme. All rights reserved