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John D. Ryan

John Ryan was President of the Soaring Society of America from 1965-1966. John was born May 17, 1925 in New York City and was raised in Butte, Montana.

John served in U.S. Naval Air Service during World War II. He started flying (power) while attending Dartmouth College and received his private license in 1945. John continued his flying for both pleasure and business. Although John flew a great deal for business he said, "the fun has been put back into flying" through soaring. John towed for Arizona Soaring Association when he could be coerced from the back end of the tow rope.

For many years, John was a self-employed consulting engineer in the field of radio communications. He also served as a director on the board of a business investment group in Phoenix.

In November, 1958, the Ryan family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona from Montana.

Years ago, John wrote the following in SOARING Magazine, "I was sitting in a barber chair listening to the usual unending stream of talk coming from behind my head when the word SOARING was heard. A little questioning on my part brought out the fact that a group was active in the area and that a 'fellow named Joe Lincoln' was the man to see. I gave Joe a call upon returning home. By coincidence, Joe was at home, and another coincidence was that there was a meeting of the Arizona Soaring Association that night, and, 'I would like you to come as my guest,' said Joe. The next weekend saw me out at the Turf Paradise strip and up in the TG-3A for my first ride. You know the rest. The bug bit, and I reacted immediately."

Ryan continued, "Soaring has many appeals for me, but first on the list must come the friendships I've made within the group, locally, nationally, and among the pilots and crews attending the competitions at Cologne. So many of these relatively new-found friends have helped so much with the ship, taught me to fly a sailplane, and have given advice and encouragement. Then, too, there's the spirited competition and renewed friendships at the contests. And, of course, the feeling of accomplishment that comes with every flight; and the feeling that the 'bird' has gotten you away from earthly trials and trivia and perhaps a bit closer to the great power of the universe. It all adds up to being unbeatable in my log!"

John Ryan was typical of the men and women in soaring who believe that their duty is to return more than they receive.

Posted: 5/1/1997


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