Ryan PT-22 Recruit

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PT-22 Recruit
Ryan PT-22A Recruit at NASM.jpg
Role Trainer
Manufacturer Ryan Aeronautical Company
Primary users United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Corps
Number built 1,048
Unit cost
Developed from Ryan ST

The Ryan PT-22 Recruit, the main military version of the Ryan ST, is a military trainer aircraft used by the United States Army Air Corps and its successor, the United States Army Air Forces for primary pilot training.

Design and development[edit]

The PT-22's fuselage is a simple monocoque structure, with thick gauge alclad skin. The wings feature spruce spars, aluminum alloy ribs, steel compression members, with aircraft fabric covering aft to the trailing edge and aluminum alloy sheet covering from the leading edge to the spar.[1] The wings have 4° 10' of sweep back, 3° of incidence and 4° 30' dihedral.[2]

The PT-22 fuel system consists of a single tank mounted forward of the front cockpit. Fuel is gravity fed to the carburetor. The oil system is a dry-sump type, with all oil stored in a tank located on the front side of the firewall in the upper section of the fuselage. The wing flaps are mechanically operated from a lever located on the left side of each cockpit. Adjustable elevator trim is provided via an elevator trim tab controllable from a handwheel mounted on the left side of each cockpit. In its original configuration, the aircraft was not equipped with an electrical system. Hydraulic brakes are provided for each wheel, controllable via the rudder pedals in each cockpit.[3]

In order to simplify maintenance, the wheel spats and landing gear fairings were deleted in the production examples

Operational history[edit]

The PT-22 was developed in 1941 from the civilian Ryan ST series. The earlier PT-20 and PT-21 were the military production versions of the Ryan ST-3 with a total of 100 built. The PT-22 was the United States Army Air Corps' first purpose built monoplane trainer. The rapid expansion of wartime aircrew training required new trainers, and the Ryan PT-22 was ordered in large numbers.[4] Named the "Recruit", it entered operational service with the U.S. Orders also were placed by the Netherlands, but were never realized as the nation capitulated to Axis forces. The small order of 25 ST-3s was redirected to the United States and redesignated as the PT-22A. Another order also came from the U.S. Navy for 100 examples. The PT series was in heavy use throughout the war years with both military and civil schools, but with the end of the war, was retired from the U.S.A.A.F.[5]

The Ryan PT-22 remains a popular World War II collector aircraft.


Ryan PT-22 Recruit
Military version of the Model ST.3KR powered by a 160 hp R-540-1, 1,023 built.
Model ST-3S twin-float seaplanes ordered by the Netherlands Navy powered by 160 hp Menasco D4B, ordered cancelled and completed for the United States Army Air Corps with 160 hp R-540-1 engines, 25 built.
Unbuilt project.
PT-22s re-engined with the 160 hp R-540-3, 250 conversions.



Aircraft on display[edit]


Ryan PT-22 in 2007

Several PT-22 remain in flyable condition worldwide, as the aircraft continues to be a popular sport plane and warbird.

The first PT-22 prototype is flying at Old Warden, United Kingdom, as part of the Shuttleworth Collection, designated "001"[15]

Specifications (PT-22)[edit]

Data from Pilots Flight Operating Instructions[3] and The New Ryan[16]

General characteristics

  • Crew: two (student and instructor)
  • Length: 22 ft 5 in (6.90 m)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft 1 in (9.17 m)
  • Height: 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)
  • Wing area: 134.25 sq ft (12.5 sq m)
  • Airfoil: NACA 2412
  • Empty weight: 1308 lb (593 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 1860 lb (844 kg)
  • Useful load: 552 lb (250 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1,860 lb (844 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Kinner R-540, 160 hp (120 kW)



  • none


  • none



  1. ^ Mayborn, Mitch. "The Ryan PT/ST Series". Aircraft in Profile, 1967, 1970, Profile Publications.
  2. ^ Carpenter, Dorr B. (1990). Ryan Sport Trainer. USA: SunShine House. p. 69. ISBN 0-943691-03-6. 
  3. ^ a b Pilots Flight Operating Instructions
  4. ^ Donald 1997, p. 793.
  5. ^ Mondey 2006, p. 225.
  6. ^ United States Air Force Museum 1975, p. 22.
  7. ^ "Main Campus Aircraft &#124." Air Zoo of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Retrieved: 4 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Museum Home." Museumofaviation.org. Retrieved: 4 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Military Aircraft." Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum; Wings & Waves Waterpark, McMinnville Oregon. Retrieved: 4 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Our Aircraft." Port Townsend Aero Museum. Retrieved: 4 August 2013.
  11. ^ Zapp, John. "Aircraft at the Vintage Flying Museum a 501c(3) museum located at Meacham Airport (KFTW) in Fort Worth, Texas." Vintageflyingmuseum.org. Retrieved: August 4, 2013.
  12. ^ Ryan PT-22A 'Recruit' New England Air Museum. Retrieved: 4 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Minnesota Wing - CAF-MN Aircraft." Commemorative Air Force, 5 June 2010. Retrieved: 4 August 2013.
  14. ^ "The Museums Aircraft." Aircombatmuseum.org. Retrieved: 4 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Shuttleworth Old Warden Park." The Shuttleworth Aircraft Collection. Retrieved: 4 August 2013.
  16. ^ The New Ryan: Development and History of the Ryan ST and SC 1995, p. 117.


  • Cassagneres, Ev. The New Ryan: Development and History of the Ryan ST and SC. Eagan, Minnesota: Flying Books, 1995. ISBN 978-0-91113-920-4.
  • Donald, David, ed. Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada: Prospero Books, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
  • Mondey, David. American Aircraft of World War II (Hamlyn Concise Guide). London: Bounty Books, 2006. ISBN 978-0-7537-1461-4.
  • Pilots Flight Operating Instructions for Army Model PT-22 Airplanes, T.O. NO. 01-100GC-1. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio: U.S. Army Air Forces, 1943.
  • United States Air Force Museum Guidebook. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio: Air Force Museum Foundation, 1975.
  • Dorr B. Carpenter. "Ryan Sport Trainer", SunShine House, Terre Haute Indiana. ISBN 0-943691-03-6. 1990.

External links[edit]