Today in History: First aerial circumnavigation of the world completed
On September 28, 1924 — 90 years ago today — the first flight around the world was completed. The aerial circumnavigation began on April 6, 1924 from Seattle, Washington with a fleet of 4 planes and ended back in Seattle 175 days later with only 2 of the original planes. The circumnavigation route traveled over or touched 21 countries and 25 states — a total of 57 hops were made.
The flight fleet comprised 4 aircraft acquired by the United States Army Air Service (later to become the Air Force). Each plane was a Douglas torpedo bomber that had been modified to carry extra fuel (by eliminating the bomb bays) and interchangeable landing gear — pontoons for water landings and wheels for normal landings. The 4 planes in the fleet were named after U.S. cities: (1) Seattle, (2) Chicago, (3) Boston, and (4) New Orleans. Two of these planes, Seattle and Boston, were lost during the trip, but their crews survived.