by Steven John Koeppe - Acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40" - 2008
The World Cruisers, built by Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, are shown departing March 17, 1924 for their 1924 voyage around our planet. The first circumnavigation by airplane took 69 stops and 363 hours in flight averaging just 72.5 miles per hour and covered 26,345 miles in 175 days. By the time they had returned to Seattle (the official departure point,) only 2 aircraft survived. #1, The Seattle, crashed into a mountain in Alaska. #3, The Boston, was lost to engine troubles in the North Atlantic. Unbelievably, all crew members survived their ordeal. #2, The Chicago, is displayed in the Pioneers of Flight gallery at the National Air and Space Museum. #4, The New Orleans, is undergoing restoration at Santa Monica Airport. The World Cruisers electrified interest about the future potential of aviation.