|The last B-3, which became the prototype B-5|
The initial B-1 model, which first flew in early 1927, was powered by a Wright J-5 engine, and sold well. Frank Hawks bought the prototype, named it Gold Bug and went barnstorming. After Lindbergh's flight, Hawks renamed the plane Spirit of San Diego and sold rides in the plane "like the one Lindy flew". Mahoney subsequently hired him to be an official company representative. The company built a special one-off version, the B-2, for Lindbergh to use as his personal aircraft, which he took on tour across the U.S. during 1928.
After building about 150 of the B-1s, Mahoney decided it was time to update the design, and the 1928 B-3 included a larger cabin, larger tail surfaces and swiveling tailwheel. The last few were built with 300 hp J-6 engines, but retained the B-3's 1,590 pound useful load. To take advantage of the bigger engine, the last B-3 was built as the prototype B-5 in 1929, which had a 1,749 pound useful load. This prototype, initially NX-8321, is shown in the first of our two photos, which appear to be offical factory prints.
|A Parks College B-5 in flight|
Since Detroit Aircraft owned Parks, it was natural that the college's fleet would include aircraft built by other divisions of the company, and the aircraft shown in our second photo, NC728M, was one of Park's acquisitions.
|Compare the tails of our two subject planes: the first B-5 was built by Mahoney-|
Ryan in San Diego, the Parks College plane was built by Ryan in St. Louis MO.
In 1934, T. Claude tried again, and it was this later version of Ryan Aeronautical that succeeded in the long term, and today is a part of Northrop Grumman Corp.