The Shuttleworth Aircraft Collection

1941 - Ryan PT22 Recruit

1941 - Ryan PT22 Recruit

1941 - Ryan PT22 Recruit


Over 1200 PT22 Recruits were built during 1942 by the Ryan Aeronautical Company in response to a U.S. Military requirement for a Primary Trainer (hence the PT designation) that was more challenging to fly than other machines of the day.

The concern at the time was that newly trained pilots were taking to long to convert on to machines such as the Harvard, thereby causing delays to their going on to fighting machines.

The PT22 filled this role well despite its unforgiving handling qualities and subsequent reputation as both a flying brick and a pilot killer.

This particular exhibit was issued to the United States Army air Corps at Hemet Field California in May 1942 and served throughout the war.

Unusually, its flying history is continous since its manufacture, being operated by several owners in the USA and flown regularly in the UK thereafter following its importation here in 1989.

Its distinctive misfiring engine note is due to the fact that the 5-cylinder Kinner R56 engine has three open exhaust stubs whereas the other two are directed into the carburettor heat exchanger, this muffling them to a greater degree.

Its unusual bird leg undercarriage was designed to absorb both high side loads and high decent rates, beyond those that its contemporaries could withstand.

The cockpit area was designed to promote a high degree of survivability in the event of an accident, as borne out by the substantial external stringers between the cockpits and the rollover pylon ahead of the front windscreen. These features combined to form a protective tub for both occupants.

The combination of its tough undercarriage, forgiving of even the worst student landings, and its crashworthiness made it a very tough albeit a heavy machine.

This aircraft , one of only a handful in Europe in airworthy condition, was acquired by Peter Holloway in 2004. Now owned by Peter Holloway and Steve Roberts.

Ryan PT22
Design purpose Primary Trainer
Span 30ft 1in
Overall length 22ft 7½in
Engine Kinner R56 160 hp at 1850rpm
Weight empty 1402 lbs
Weight loaded 1885 lbs
Speed (max) 190mph
Speed (cruising) 116 mph