Discoveries & Disclosures
During the process of building our definitive reproduction
Spirit of St. Louis by JNE
a number of previously unknown and / or undisclosed bits of information were discovered about the original
Spirit of St. Louis
Some of the information we have discovered tends to challenge what history has recorded as factual.
We leave it up to the reader to decide what REALLY happened.
Additionally, the challenges faced in the 21st century to replicate an airplane built in the 20th century, created circumstances where occasionally deviating from how the original airplane was constructed became necessary.
We have chosen to point those areas out along with an explanation of WHY the deviation was necessary as we share our example of the most authentically accurate replica ever built ... to date!
It was initially thought the pliers John found under the main fuel tank of the Spirit of St. Louis, was FOD ... simply overlooked by the Ryan factory crew when the plane was built. However, once the fuel lines where charged on the Spirit of St. Louis by JNE, we discovered that the ease with which we could turn the valves on the Lunkenheimer fuel manifold PRIOR to adding fuel, had disappeared. Once the lines were charged, it required a pair of pliers to turn the valves on and off.
The original fuel tanks in the Spirit of St. Louis were made of terneplate, a tin/lead alloy that is no longer available in large enough sheets to make fuel tanks with. Terneplate was commonly used in 1927 for fuel tanks because the lead in the alloy provided a built-in element to ensure the seams would not leak once soldered together. Terneplate is no longer available in large enough sheets to build fuel tanks with, so John ended up using galvanized metal sheets instead.
Over the years since Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget field in Paris, it has been reported that the assembled crowd, there to witness the event, "stormed the plane" and "souvenir hunters" had "cut the fabric" off the Spirit of St. Louis ... apparently in an attempt to hang onto some little piece of that moment in history. We have even repeated that story ourselves believing it to be true, since that is what history has reported. However, after deeper investigation as we researched everything we