Around the World by Airplane in 175 Days


The aircraft shown here, Chicago, led the first round the world flight in 1924. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
The aircraft shown here, Chicago, led the first round the world flight in 1924. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1924, the first aerial circumnavigation of the world was completed.

Here are some things you don’t know about the feat.

Two years before the successful attempt, the British made the first attempt, followed by the French, Italians, Portuguese, and another British attempt. In 1923, the U.S. Army Air Service began preliminary planning for an American attempt.

The Air Service chose a modified Douglas DT-2, called a Douglas World Cruiser. The main modification was to the plane’s fuel capacity, which was increased from 115 gallons to 644 gallons.

The plan was approved on August 1, 1923, and the last of four World Cruisers was delivered on March 11, 1924.

The four planes were called Chicago, Boston, New Orleans and Seattle, which is where the round-the-world attempt began.

The planes left Seattle for Alaska, hopped the Bering Strait to Russia, flew down the Pacific coast of Asia to the Indian Ocean. From there, the planes traveled across the Middle East toward Europe, where they crossed to Iceland and Greenland before returning to North America and flying back to Seattle.

The trip took 175 days and covered 27,553 miles. Along the way, the planes’ engines were changed five times and were fitted with new wings twice. It would be five years before the next successful circumnavigation attempt.

Our question: What year did the first non-stop non-refueled aerial circumnavigation of the world take place?

Today is World Rabies Day, International Right to Know Day, and Freedom from Hunger Day.

It’s unofficially National Ask a Stupid Question Day, National Drink Beer Day, and National Women’s Health and Fitness Day.

It’s the birthday of television host Ed Sullivan, who was born in 1901; actress Brigitte Bardot, who is 82, and comedian Janeane Garofalo, who is 52.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1967, the top song in the U.S. was “The Letter” by The Box Tops.

The No. 1 movie was “Bonnie and Clyde,” while the novel “The Arrangement” by Elia Kazan topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

Who was the third U.S. presidential candidate in 1980, whose presence resulted in the cancelations of one presidential debate, and the only vice presidential debate?



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