EAA has constructed two “Spirit of St. Louis” replica aircraft to honor Charles Lindbergh and his aviation achievements.
The first replica was built in 1977 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic Ocean and subsequent tour of the United States. Between 1977 and 1988, that aircraft accumulated more than 1,300 hours of flight time. In 1987, the replica was shipped to France and flew into LeBourget Airport in Paris to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Lindbergh’s 33-hour flight across the Atlantic. The first “Spirit” replica was retired to the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh in November 1988 as the centerpiece of the museum’s Lindbergh exhibit.
EAA continued to receive requests for appearances by the Spirit, even after the replica’s official retirement. Those requests led to the construction of the second and flying replica, beginning in early 1990. It was completed by May 1991 and has made many appearances throughout the country since that time.
Major support for the airplane’s construction was provided by the David Claude Ryan Foundation. That foundation was created by T. Claude Ryan, founder of the Ryan Aircraft Company, which built Lindbergh’s original Spirit of St. Louis. Other major supporters of the project included Stits Fabric Covering, Wicks’ Aircraft Supply, Hewitt Machine, JRS Enterprises, Ken Brock Manufacturing, Terra Avionics, II-Morrow, Inc., MacWhyte Company and Mr. Jack Hooker.
The second Spirit replica is on display in the Ryan Hangar at EAA’s Pioneer Airport, a part of the AirVenture Museum. Demonstration flights are made throughout the Museum’s spring, summer, and fall flying season, and at special events.