Vintage Pictures From The First Flight Around The World

Plane

Photo: US National Archives

The 1920s was a special time in American history. The “war to end all wars” was over and the United States was stronger than ever.Air travel was also gaining popularity after the first flight took off in 1903. In 1924, the U.S. Air Force had a daring and revolutionary plan: to be the first to successfully complete a flight all the way around the world.

The journey started in Santa Monica, C.A. on March 17 and took 175 days. Four planes named after American cities, the Boston, Seattle, New Orleans and Chicago each had two-man crews that would attempt to travel over 27,000 miles.

The following slides contain photos from a silent film, kept in the US National Archives, which chronicled the first-ever aerial circumnavigation of the globe.  

The four planes slated to make the round-the-world flight arrive on the shores of San Diego, waiting to be taken for the ride.

A large crowd gathered to see the brave Air Force soldiers off on their monumental journey.

The planes get some last minute mechanical fixes and the crew is just about ready to embark.

The soldiers are saluted and seen off on their flight. God speed!

The first plane is in the air as they head north to Seattle and British Columbia.

Upon arrival in Canada, the crew members were met with souvenirs from Prince Rupert.

On their way to Alaska, the crew encountered some fog and got lost for 10 days. One of the planes suffered enough damage that it could not continue.

After safely landing in Alaska, the crew made the first ever trans-Pacific flight and went nearly 3,000 miles to Japan.

The pilots arrived in Japan to much fanfare and received a gala feast and a sumo wrestling display.

The crew subsequently made stops across Asia, from India to China on their way to Constantinople with no trouble along the way.

Just before their arrival in Paris, a majestic look over the palace of Versailles was in order.

Next it was off to London and a trip over the English Channel.

There was a stopover made in Scotland, where last minute mechanical adjustments were made before the transatlantic flight.

Next was a flight to Iceland before the trans-Atlantic trip to Greenland, the last portion of the journey that would fly over water.

The crew was cordially welcomed back to America when they landed in Maine. They would then fly to Boston, New York and Washington DC before honouring the Wright Brothers by flying to Dayton.

After Dayton it was off to California and up to Seattle, where the first flight around the world was completed and met with exuberant celebration.

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