It’s hard to believe that it was only 90 years ago today that Seattle, the lead aircraft in the 4-aircraft squadron of the United States Army Air Service, took off from Sand Point, Washington for Alaska in the first leg of what would become the first successful circumnavigation of the world by flight in a journey that took 175 days and covered 44,342 km.
It’s especially hard since we can now fly halfway around the world in a day and a half and are used to getting expedited shipments to fuel our supply chain from halfway around the world in three days (or less). But back in 1924, even though some had tried, including Britain and France, no country had succeeded in flying around the world until the United States Army Air Service, led by Maj. Frederick Martin, managed to circle the globe with the squadron of specially modified DT-2s, with interchangeable wheeled and pontooned landing gear and a fuel capacity of 3,438 litres, made the voyage which involved landings in over 20 countries.
Although SI typically avoids two history lessons in the same week, this was a significant milestone in aviation. With the first air freight shipment having occurred a mere three and a half years before this iconic journey, it allowed some people to dream of a future where air cargo ruled the skies — and make that future happen!