Round the World Cruisers<br>
Round the World Cruisers
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Product Description

DT2 World Cruisers

Available as a Giclee Canvas or Paper Edition:

14"x21" $445
18"x24" $650
24"x32" $1,152
30"x40" $1,800
36"x48" $2592

About the Painting

In spring of 1923, the U.S. Army Air Service became interested in having a squadron of military planes make a round-the-world flight. It assigned a group of officers the job of finding a suitable aircraft and planning the mission. The group first looked at the existing pool of military planes but none of them was satisfactory, so they began looking outside of the air service for a plane that could be fitted with interchangeable wheeled landing gear and also with pontoons for landing on water. The War Department instructed the Air Service to look at both the Fokker F-5 Transport and the Davis-Douglas Cloudster to see if either one would qualify and to acquire one of these planes for a test.

When Douglas was asked for information on the Cloudster, he instead submitted data on a modified DT-2, the bomber that Douglas had built for the U.S. military in 1921 and 1922. This plane had already proved to be a sturdy aircraft that could accommodate interchangeable wheeled and pontoon landing gear. Since the basic plane already existed, Douglas stated that the new fleet of planes, which he named the Douglas World Cruiser, could be delivered within 45 days after a contract was awarded. The Air Service agreed and sent Lieutenant Erik Nelson, a member of the planning group, to California to work out the details with Douglas.

Douglas, assisted by John Northrop, began to modify a DT-2 to suit the Air Service requirements. The main modification involved its fuel capacity. All the internal bomb-carrying structures were removed and additional fuel tanks were added to various parts of the plane. The total fuel capacity went from 115 gallons (435 liters) to 644 gallons (3,438 liters).

Lieutenant Nelson took the Douglas proposal to Washington where General Mason M. Patrick, chief of the air service, approved it on August 1, 1923. The War Department awarded the contract to Douglas for the construction of a single test plane. The test plane met all its specifications, and a contract was awarded for four more planes and spare parts. The last plane was delivered on March 11, 1924. The spare parts included 15 extra Liberty engines, 14 extra sets of pontoons, and enough replacement airframe parts for two more planes. These were sent around the world along the route the crews would follow.

Four planes—the Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and New Orleans—left Santa Monica, California, on March 17, 1924, for Seattle—the official start of the flight. On April 4, they left Seattle for Alaska. One plane—the Seattle—needed repairs and remained behind with its crew. When it was repaired and the crew attempted to catch up with the other three planes, it crashed into a mountaintop in the fog. The crew survived and was picked up, but the plane was destroyed.

Flying across the Atlantic, the Boston was forced to come down and capsized while being towed by the cruiser that had picked up the crew.The two remaining planes crossed the Atlantic via Iceland and Greenland and reached Canada. The test plane—named the Boston II—met them in Canada and the three planes went on to Washington, D.C. After a hero\'s welcome, the three planes flew to the West Coast, stopping briefly in Santa Monica and finally landing in Seattle on September 28, 1924.

The trip had taken 175 days. Sources differ on whether they flew almost 29,000 miles (46,671 kilometers) or 26,553 miles (42,733 kilometers). But whatever the actual distance, it was an impressive feat. The Douglas Company had earned the motto "First Around the World."

ROUND THE WORLD CRUISERS by R.G. SMITH (Douglas World Cruiser:DT-2 World Cruiser)


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