T-7A Red Hawk Taxi Test, Lambert St. Louis International Airport - St. Louis, MO. MSF23-022 Series.Boeing Flight Test & Evaluation - Boeing Field - KC-46, VH004, EMD2, F-18 initial contacts with KC-46, PegasusF-15EX "Painted" First Flight from St. Louis Lambert International Airport, St. Louis, MO. MSF21-0004 Series.
On April 6, 1924, four Douglas World Cruiser planes set off from Sandpoint Field (now Magnuson Park) in Seattle to embark on the first flight around the world. Commissioned by the U.S. Army Air Service, the flight was a chance for the United States to promote the capabilities of the military while also highlighting the country’s role as “the birthplace of aeronautics.”  Each plane consisted of two crew members – a pilot and a mechanic – and all were members of the U.S. military. 

Designed by Donald Douglas and Jack Northrop, the Douglas World Cruisers were built in Santa Monica, California, by the Douglas Aircraft Co. then flown to Seattle where Boeing provided ground maintenance crews and swapped the landing gear for pontoons, as not every location along the route had airfields.   From there, the four cruisers began their journey west. The entire journey lasted 175 days, covered 26, 345 miles and included 74 stops. 

Only two planes made it the entire way: the Chicago and the New Orleans. The Seattle crashed into the side of mountain in Alaska early on and while the pilots survived, they were unable to continue. The Boston sank in the North Atlantic off the coast of Iceland near the end of the journey. Both crew members survived and were transported by the Navy to Pictou, Nova Scotia where they meet up with their replacement airplane the Boston II.  The New Orleans and Chicago met up with the Boston II at Pictou and the three airplanes continued the journey across the US. 

When the three planes landed in Washington, D.C., they were greeted by President Calvin Coolidge, then proceeded onward to do a looping tour of the United States. When they finally landed back in Seattle, they were greeted by 52,000 people. 

For the Boeing heritage company Douglas, the success of the Douglas World Cruisers flight was a monumental feat that helped propel them into becoming one of the most prolific aviation giants of the 20th century. And the event left an undeniable mark on aviation. Not only did the planes have to be capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, they had to be modified to carry two pilots with limited gear farther than any planes had previously flown. 

Therefore, when it came to engineering, the Douglas World Cruisers set the stage for the future of aviation. The flight was so consequential that it influenced the Douglas logo – three planes flying around the globe – and their slogan “First around the world.” The logo directly influenced Boeing’s logo today. 

Globally, the cooperation behind the success of the flight was a cultural phenomenon, and is considered to be one of the largest peacetime military operations in history. No single military group, company or country could have accomplished it alone. Because of fuel requirements, pilots could only fly four to six hours at a time, which meant they needed to be able to land and receive maintenance repairs and fuel refills in multiple locations across the globe. This not only required permission to land in several countries, but permission for the United States military to have an international presence at each location. In the end, the flight required cooperation between 22 countries, all branches of the U.S. military and the diplomatic corps.

The Douglas World Cruisers feat was a big step towards global unification through flight. Aviation was still in its infancy, and several of the countries in which the planes would be landing were filled with people that had never seen planes. As such, the landings in places like India, Japan and China were met with tens of thousands of spectators eager to see this new technology. The flight also helped show what was possible. Named “Magellan’s of the Sky,” the pilots and crew were representative of a new age of global exploration. Like Magellan who sailed the world in the 16th century, the flight of the Douglas World Cruisers made connection between countries possible by opening up the world to a new age of innovation, and expanding global reach.
100 Years: The Douglas World Cruiser, First Around the World 
Boeing Highlight Reel 
Boeing’s Commercial Crew Transportation System, called the CST-100 Starliner, is a full-service system. It provides all elements needed to transport crew and cargo to and from low Earth orbit destinations, including crew training and mission planning, spacecraft and launch vehicle assembly, integration and testing, and crew and cargo recovery. The goal is to provide safe, reliable and sustainable access to space, beginning with missions to the International Space Station and with NASA as the flagship customer.
On Wednesday, Nov. 22 2023, the FAA granted the Boeing 737-10 Type Inspection Authorization. This is a significant milestone as we work to get the airplane certified to enter passenger service.  Watch the 737-10 begin certification flight testing at Boeing Field in Seattle.
Boeing 737-10 Type Inspection Authorization 
2024 Pre-FAS Media Tour 
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