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1920s - 1930s: Ryan STM

First flown in 1934 as the Ryan Sport-Trainer, this aircraft was later developed into a military trainer (hence STM). The charismatic Ryan ST series is admired all around the world for its fine handling qualities, but perhaps more so for its aesthetic beauty, exuding the art-deco style of the 1930's.


That said, this Ryan STM is a veteran of wartime military with two nations. Acquired by the Dutch East Indies forces to train pilots in what is now Indonesia, the little Ryans were in service when the Imperial Japanese forces were advancing through South East Asia.

Ryan STMOver 100 Ryans had been ordered from the factory in San Diego, California. As the Japanese came closer, some of the Ryans were shot down by Zeros at the spearhead of the advance. A decision was made to evacuate people and equipment to Australia and 34 STMs found their way to that country, to then be used by the RAAF.

Owned by MOTAT and operated by the New Zealand Warbirds Association, New Zealand's sole Ryan STM wears the colours of the NEIAF as it did before being evacuated. It survived its Australian military service to join the civil aircraft register in that country as VH-AGS before being sold in New Zealand during the 1950s where it became ZK-BEM. Now flying happily again, the Ryan is based at Ardmore Airport, Auckland.

Ryan STM


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