Text and Photo by Bruce Estes
Richard Ryan took his first airplane ride when he was 10 years old. This was in an Aeronca Champ that operated out of the backyard of a family friend. The backyard was off of Old Auburn Road. Yes, this was a long time ago. Richard’s mom didn’t know about this flight. Richard was hooked on flying.
In 1967, during Richard’s first year of college, he was recruited to go to work for the Lawrence Livermore Lab. Richard was paid $2.40 per hour. He took his first pay check and went to the Livermore Airport and started flying lessons. Richard obtained his Private, Commercial, and CFI. ratings at Livermore. He did a lot of instructing at Livermore Airport during the 1970’s and 80’s. Today, Richard has about 2,500 hours to his credit.
The two-thirds scale Curtiss Jenny resides in a hangar on the south side of the airport. The Jenny was damaged in an taxi accident by a prior owner and Richard Ryan has been bringing it back to life. The project is nearly complete, which means it still has a long way to go, but we look forward to see it flying again. It is a unique and distinctive addition to the aviation community at the Lincoln Airport.
About two years ago, Richard got the opportunity to purchase a 2/3 size Jenny replica. He has always wanted to fly an older, classic airplane and this was his chance. The Jenny had been badly damaged in a taxi accident. Richard purchased the Jenny, brought it home, and started the repairs that included a full recover of the airframe. This Jenny is powered by a 65 hp AMW 2 stroke engine, it weighs about 450 lbs empty and has a 28’ wing span. The Jenny qualifies as a light sport aircraft. The frame is all metal, is covered by Ceconite, and painted with the Stewart System. Richard estimates that he is at the 90% completion stage, which means he still has a lot of little details to complete.
So, come on Richard, get it flying. Summer is coming and you will look good in the open cockpit of the Jenny.
The panel on the two-thirds scale Curtiss Jenny is about as simple as you could find: airspeed, altimeter, ball (no needle), and a very basic but prominent fuel ‘gauge.’ The cutout on the right? Probably not for an EFIS.