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Smithsonian Institution/National Air and Space Museum
The Chicago, one of the two Douglas World Cruisers to complete the flight.

On This Day: First Around-the-World Flight Completed

September 28, 2011 06:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
On Sept. 28, 1924, two U.S. Army Air Service planes landed in Seattle to complete a 175-day aerial circumnavigation.

Around the World in 175 Days

On April 6, 1924, four Douglas World Cruiser planes, named the Seattle, Chicago, Boston and New Orleans, set off from Seattle on an around-the world flight. The planes first flew north to Alaska, then over the Pacific to Japan, through Asia, the Middle East and Europe, over the Atlantic to Newfoundland via Iceland and Greenland, and finally over America from Boston to Seattle.

Two of the planes were lost during the trip, though the crews survived: the Seattle crashed over Alaska, while the Boston was forced to make an emergency landing in the Atlantic. The remaining two planes were accompanied by a third plane, called the Boston II, during their final leg over America. The flight covered 27,550 miles through 22 countries with 74 stops.

The flight was one of many significant aviation firsts to occur in the post-World War I “Golden Age of Aviation.” Similar accomplishments of the era included the first non-stop Atlantic crossing by John Alcock and Arthur Brown in 1919, the first solo cross-Atlantic flight by Charles Lindbergh in 1927 and the first non-stop cross-Pacific flight and global circumnavigation across both hemispheres by Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm in 1928.

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