Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Around the world in 175 days!

In 1922, The United States Army Air Service turned to Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica as a souce for an aircraft that could fly around the world. They were especially interested in Davis-Douglas' Cloudster. Donald Douglas, with the help of John Northrup, began modifications to the DT-2, which they believed sturdier than the Cloudster, primarily to increase fuel capacity. Four planes, named the Seattle, New Orleans, Chicago and Boston left from Clover Field on March 17, 1924 for Seattle. The plane, Seattle needed repairs and crashed in Alaska early in the trip. The three other aircraft completed the round-the-world flight through Asia, the Middle East and Europe, before returning to Washington D.C., Seattle and home to Santa Monica. The journey was through the northern hemisphere and covered almost 29,000 miles in 175 days.

The top photograph from 1924 depicts preparation for the round-the-world flight. The second photograph shows take off day in Santa Monica. These images are viewable in Imagine Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Public Library's digital image archive. Additional information about the flight, aircraft and Douglas Aircraft is in Flight plan for tomorrow : The Douglas story - a condensed history by Crosby Maynard, Public Relations Department with Douglas Aircraft from 1962. Another book in the local history collection is McDonnell Douglas, Vol. 1 by Rene J. Francillon, c1978, 1988.