The Ryan ST-A Special: What A Sweetheart!


Spring is upon us! The cherry trees have started to bud, the rain is slowly warming up, and it’s becoming brighter each and every day. Everyone here at the museum would like to wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Day and hope that you enjoy this wonderful story of our own “Sweetheart” plane for the occasion.

Our museum’s Ryan ST-A Special was restored over 25 years ago when it was brought from Mexico; the plane was beyond unrecognizable at that point, but luckily, owner Bill Rose of Illinois was able to restore it beautifully.

This model of the Ryan ST-A was such a special machine when it came out on the scene in the 1930’s that it became a “Sweetheart” of the rich and famous. This aircraft was quite the expensive toy to purchase due to its rarity–and still is, even to this day.


This aircraft was radically different than any other machine that had been built around the same time. It was aerobatic, edgy, and chic – women pilots fell in love with this plane. These models were easy to fly and maintain and didn’t burn a lot of fuel. The famous pilot, instructor and Hollywood stunt pilot John Gilbert “Tex” Rankin was known for flying the Ryan. He, in fact, gained the title of world aerobatic champion with this beloved aircraft!

In July 2001, this aircraft was purchased from Mr. Rose by Carl Terrana and was shipped over to Buckley, WA. However, in August of 2001 Mr. Terrana suffered an untimely death that lead his estate to selling this beautiful plane once more. In 2002, the Ryan ST-A, along with four of Carl’s other planes, was purchased by Harold Hanson, the founder of North Cascades Vintage Aircraft Museum. He took it to the museum to add to his collection where the aircraft was completely looked over, reassembled, and rigged per the Ryan manual.

Come visit us and see the Ryan ST-A up close, and learn more about its history from our knowledgable staff!



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