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Extra resources for Aerial observation : the airplane observer, the balloon observer, and the army corps pilot

Sample text

Its crew (Wade and Ogden) emerged unharmed, but the Boston was destroyed in the process of being hoisted onto a Navy ship for repair. S. Army fl iers fared better than their foreign competitors. By September 1924, aviators from Britain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Argentina had all failed in their attempts to circumnavigate the world, due to crashes or inadequate equipment and supplies. And on September 28, 175 days after they had departed, the Chicago, the New Orleans, and the Boston II triumphantly returned to Seattle before a cheering crowd of 50,000 people.

With the cooperation of the Navy and the Coast Guard, the Army dispatched officers around the world to map potential routes, fi nd suitable landing areas, set up lines of radio communication, gather meteorological data, and enlist local agents to assist the fl iers. Once landing places were selected, supplies—gasoline, tools, lumber, several hundred types of aircraft hardware, and rations for the men—were sent ahead on Navy ships. An equivalent effort went into the selection of the planes and the men who would fly them.

An equivalent effort went into the selection of the planes and the men who would fly them. The Army commissioned aircraft manufacturer Donald Douglas, a thirty-two-year-old prodigy who had previously built bombers for the Navy, to design four planes specifically for the world flight. Rugged and simple to operate, the “Douglas World Cruisers” were single-engine biplanes, with twin cockpits in which a pilot and copilotmechanic each had his own set of controls. Detachable pontoons permitted the planes to land on water; tanks capable of carry ing 644 gallons of fuel gave them a range of nearly 2,200 miles.

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