Ryan L-17B “Navion”

Our Aircraft’s History

Ryan L-17B “Navion” (S/N 48-1075; MSN #NAV-4-1781) ~ Original design was by the North American Aviation Company, the design was purchased by Ryan Aeronautical Company in 1948 . The L-17B’s (redesignated after 1962 to the U-18B) were duplicates of the civilian Ryan Navion A’s.   

This Navion was built by Ryan in San Diego, California in January of 1949.  After being delivered to the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. on February 18, 1949, she was first assigned to the 176th Infantry Regiment in the Virginia Army National Guard, Washington, D.C. in February, 1949. 

  • January 1951 – US Army Field Forces, in the Far East Material Command
  • May 1953 – 6400th Maintenance Group-SHOWA, Kisarazu Air Base, Japan
  • June 1955 – Civil Air Patrol, Elmira, New York
  • January 1957 – Syracuse University ROTC (Air Academy), Elmira, New York
  • June 1958 – 255th ROTC Detachment, State University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
  • November 1959 – Strategic Air Command (SAC) listed as flyable storage, Offutt AFB, Nebraska
  • June 1961 – Deregistered by US Air Force at Langley Air Force Base. Registered with tail number N4902E at the Langley Aero Club in Langley, Virginia
  • June 1970 – Listed as destroyed and sold for scrap
  • January 1993 – Retrieved from storage and went through a 5-year restoration program

In March of 1998, she was registered as N91173. The Navion is hangered at the MAPS Air Museum, where she is maintained by owner/Crew Chief Bruce Balough.

Specifications/Performance (Super 260 Navion/Ryan Navion B)

  • Role: Liaison, personnel/cargo carrier, trainer for university based ROTC
  • Manufacturer: Ryan Aeronautical 
  • Produced: 1946-1949
  • Introduction: November 5, 1948
  • Built: 2,634 (all variants; approx. 163 L-17B’s)
  • Crew: 1 (3 passengers)
  • Length: 27 ft 6 in
  • Wingspan: 33 ft 5 in
  • Height: 8 ft 8 in
  • Empty weight: 1,930 lb
  • Gross weight: 2,850 lb
  • Engine: 1 x Lycoming GO-435-C2 air-cooled flat-six engine, 260 hp (L-17B has the 205 hp Continental E-185-9 engine)
  • Max speed: 174 mph
  • Cruise speed: 170 mph
  • Range: 595 mi
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 ft

Armament, notable: none

Museum display notes: markings/painting are of the Washington National Guard

Designed to replace: Piper J-3 “Cub: & Aeronca Model 7 Champion “Airknocker”

Replaced by: Cessna O-1 “Bird Dog”