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Ryan Fireball

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Wright radial, GE jet
1,350 h.p./1,600 lbs.
7,700 lbs.
11,650 lbs.
2,000 lbs.
4 - .50 cal.
32 ft. 4 in.
40 ft.
426 mph
4,800 fpm
43,100 feet
1,000 miles

Ryan Fireball
Click on the picture to hear the wav sound.

The Ryan Fireball is the result of a 1942 U.S. Navy directive for a fighter aircraft with the acceleration of a propeller plane and the high speeds of a jet.

Engineers at Ryan accomplished this by using both means of propulsion in a single aircraft. The initial Ryan Fireball prototype required major modifications to the aircraft in order provide better low speed handling and correct structural weakness in the wings.

With those modifications, overall handling and performance of the Ryan Fireball exceeded expectations.

Ryan Fireball - parked

While U.S. Navy pilots didn't care for the name of the aircraft, they appreciated its wide flight envelope. The Ryan Fireball could operate from sea level to over 40,000 feet with maximum power, acceleration, and maneuverability.

With the exception of the top photo, all of the pictures on this page are of the unique, contest winning, Ryan Fireball built by Hal Parenti. Just like the actual aircraft, Hal powers his airplane with an engine turning a propeller and a jet turbine. It has a wingspan of 72" and weighs around 19 lbs.

Cleveland Models has plans for sale of the FR Fireball with wingspans of 15 1/2", 21", 31", 41", 62", 83" and a giant scale 124".

Dj Runar of RC Universe posted that he had detailed plans from W.A. Detzell of the FR Fireball with a wingspan of 60", and length of 48". It is made from balsa and ply and uses .35 to .46 two stroke or .48 to .70 four stroke engines. Ready to fly weight is about 7 lbs.

Gus Morfis has plans of a Ryan Fireball for sale with a 40" wingspan.

Ryan Fireball
Ryan Fireball built by Hal Parenti.

Although the U.S. Navy ordered 700 Ryan Fireball aircraft, the war ended before most could be delivered.

While never seeing combat, the Ryan Fireball did operate from U.S. Navy aircraft carriers beginning in March of 1945 before being retired in July of 1947. By then, jet engine technology had progressed to the point where it was seen that pure jet aircraft would be able to operate from aircraft carriers.

Although Ryan Fireball aircraft had been landing on aircraft carriers using both engines since their inital deployment, on November 6, 1945 a Ryan Fireball landing on an aircraft carrier using its jet engine only. That made it the world's first jet aircraft ever to land aboard an aircraft carrier.

Ryan Fireball
Ryan Fireball taking off.

A total of 66 production Ryan Fireball aircraft were manufactured.

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