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Tom Cleaver
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Another Bosworth Beauty: 1/32 Ryan B.1 Brougham"The MGM plane"

October 11, 2013 · in Aviation · · 5 · 2.1K

Another one from Bill. From his e-mail:

In 1927 MGM contracted with Ryan to take a B1 Brougham and to convert it to
carry Leo the MGM lion on a promotional tour of the East Coast. The plane
was modified with the installation of a cage complete with a watering and
feeding system (operated by the pilot) to the rear of the standard cockpit.
Martin Jensen was hired to do the flight. In September, 1927 he took off
with Leo and chose a southern route to get over the mountains as the plane
would be severely overloaded with cat and fuel. All went well until he got
into Arizona and was unable to climb even after fuel burn-off. After
wandering around seeking a way through, he found himself in a blind canyon
with literally nowhere to go but down. He landed in a tree. Both Martin and
Leo survived although Leo was a bit upset. Martin climbed a tree until he
realized that Leo was still in his cage. He walked out to a small town
(This was near Prescott) and a crew came back to recover Leo. Leo went on
to live a long life eventually dying in Mexico. Martin was already well
know in the SoCal aviation community (The Dole race... 2nd in Aloha.) and
also lived a long life passing away in LA sometime in the late 70's early
80's if I remember correctly. A good friend of mine in Chicago did a lot of
first hand research on the plane and actually stayed with Martin to gather
facts. He also managed to retrieve the fabric from the tail. A lot of the
pieces are still up there in the mountains.

The model represents the plane based on Martin's considerable input and my
friend's very well drawn modifications to the airframe. A standard
pre-Lindbergh Ryan B1 with the shorter wing span and tempered plate glass
sides (more weight!) so that Leo had a nice view out and the crowds had a

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome 3 

4 additional images. Click to enlarge.

5 responses

  1. That is some good history Tom. Thanks

  2. Like of all these postings, this is model making in a completely different way...fantastic!

  3. Tom, you never fail to please and inspire. Awesome !

  4. Tom,
    Great story and another fantastic build by Bosworth. Aside from the crash, could you imagine Leo getting out of his cage during a flight ... Nice Kitty, Nice Kitty..

  5. another incredible museum piece

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