"Other men will fly around the world, but never again will anybody fly around it for the first time." These words greeted the "Magellans of the air" after completing their nearly 6 month journey. A race among aviators of several nations to see who would be the first to fly around the world began in early 1924.
The U.S. Army decided to make the attempt and called upon the Douglas company to build the planes. The Douglas World Cruiser (DWC), powered by a Liberty motor, had a cruising speed of 80 miles per hour and a range of 830 miles. Four 2-man crews were selected for the flight, each christening their plane with the name of a city - the Seattle, the Chicago, the Boston and the New Orleans.
In March the crews left San Francisco for Seattle. Their flight officially began there on April 6, as the four planes headed north to Alaska. Trouble hit early as the flight commander, Major Frederick Martin and his mechanic Sgt. Alva Harvey crashed-landed in the remote Alaskan mountains. After a harrowing week, Harvey led the injured Martin out of the wilderness to a small fishing camp and safety.
The 3-plane flight continued its journey over the Aleutians and North Pacific reaching Japan on May 23. The flight continued along the coast of Asia - Shanghai, Hong Kong, Saigon, Bangkok, and Rangoon, reaching Calcutta on June 26. From there it was on to Karachi, Constantinople, and Paris, arriving in London on July 16. Trouble hit again on the flight over the North Atlantic when the Boston went down en route to Iceland. The crew of were rescued from the icy water and rejoined the flight in Nova Scotia with a replacement plane.
The flyers made their way across the United States returning to their starting point in Seattle on September 28, 1924. The flight had lasted 175 days with 363 hours of actual flying time.