Skip to content

Douglas World Cruiser of 1924 — the airplane

1 April 2015

Douglas World Cruiser of 1924 — the airplane

Douglas World Cruiser Chicago at the NASM on the Mall — photo by Joseph May

Douglas World Cruiser Chicago at the NASM on the Mall as seen in 2009 — photo by Joseph May

Douglas World Cruiser Chicago at the NASM on the Mall — photo by Joseph May

Douglas World Cruiser Chicago at the NASM on the Mall as seen in 2009 — photo by Joseph May

The airplane selected by the U.S. Army Air Service was precedent setting for the aviation industry of the United States in the eyes of the world. The four aircraft, later three with the crash of the Seattle, made their way around the world stopping in several countries. Crowds and military experts gathered at nearly every stop (stops often lasted days or weeks) to see the remarkable aircraft — the Douglas World Cruiser — to see the aircraft doing what had not been done, flying around the world. Less than a decade since the end of World War I, where U.S. aviation entered woefully behind in aviation design, the U.S. Army Air Service were flying a robust and reliable aircraft for the day pushing limits of endurance for both human and vehicle.

Based upon the Douglas built torpedo bomber, known as DT for the U.S. Navy, the World Cruiser had the same liquid cooled Liberty 12 engine of 420 hp though there were significant modifications, a few of which were:

  • The cockpits for the pilot and mechanic were moved closer together for better crew communication which was by voice tube and hand signals
  • A 460% increase in fuel as well as extra water and oil reservoirs
  • Two radiator sizes with the larger one installed for hot weather operations
  • Easier mechanism to switch between wheeled landing gear and floats

 

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser in 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo at nearly every stop

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser fitted with floats — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser on floats — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser float detail — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 Liberty 12 Engine — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser Liberty 12 Engine — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruisers had hardly a vacant space which could be made useful, here a handy cargo compartment — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser 1924 — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

Douglas World Cruiser of 1924 on its grass field element — San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive photo

One of the aircraft exists, the one christened Chicago, and is on display in the National Aviation and Space Museum on the Mall. Excitingly a flying replica has been built, named the Seattle II, and in known under The Seattle World Cruiser Project.

Advertisements
5 Comments leave one →
  1. 3 April 2015 01:07

    Great post. By Coincidence I am writing something about Donald Douglas and mentioning that I saw the wreckage of “Seattle” in Anchorage.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      4 April 2015 06:41

      Thank you Deano. Your Alaska trip was a great one. Can’t wait for you post on Douglas…not enough written in him so glad you’re filling in that omission.

      • 4 April 2015 12:39

        I went to the Santa Monica Museum of Flying recently. They have some interesting Douglas artifacts and a great memorial

      • travelforaircraft permalink*
        13 April 2015 10:34

        Again–thanks for your observations. I especially was unaware of the memorial at the Santa Monica Museum — I’ll have to get there sooner than later.

      • 13 April 2015 19:12

        Stay tuned for some photos

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: