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1924 First Successful Circumnavigation Flights

A DigitalThemePark Achievement

On April 6, 1924, four pilots and four copilot/mechanics left Sand Point on Lake Washington near Seattle in four aircraft for a 175-day westward circumnavigation of the planet. It was the first successful circumnavigation of the globe with a 100-year anniversary just two years from this writing. Only two planes and crews finished the route. One aircraft got separated from the others by a thrown rod early in the flight but crashed into a mountain in Alaska while trying to catch up (the crew survived). The other aircraft capsized and was lost while under tow after losing power near the Faroe Islands. The two remaining aircraft flew the entire route and returned to Sand Point, Washington on September 28, 1924.

Lots of background information on the original flights:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_aerial_circumnavigation
https://pioneersofflight.si.edu/content/first-flight-around-world

A diary of the original flight with lots of details about each leg is available here with some interesting and useful information:
https://www.seattleworldcruiser.org/1924-world-flight-chronicle

There are also a couple wanting to re-create the historic flight starting in 2023. They have lots of info on their website: https://www.seattleworldcruiser.org

The original flight used modified WWI Douglas DT-2 torpedo bomber open-cockpit biplanes powered by a single 450 HP Liberty 12, normally-aspirated engine. The DT-2 had a top speed of 100 mph and a service ceiling of 7,400 feet. The planes were equipped with both floats and wheels and could be configured to land on land or water. A number of the stops along the route were on the water but these flights use nearby airports so the entire flight can be completed using conventional gear aircraft.

Many of the cities where the original crews laid over and performed repairs have changed names, countries have changed, and some airports don’t even exist anymore or never really did exist. Two notable examples of airports that disappeared were the official start/finish at Sand Point, Washington (now a park), and Bolling Field (now light industrial and park across from Reagan National). Instead, this route uses Boeing Field as the start/finish and Reagan National as the Washington, DC stop.

Special Directions:

  • This route tries to be as faithful to the original route as possible given how much can change in 100 years. Some are now international airports and some are very minimal and not even paved. There are long overwater legs, a short 36nm resupply leg, and stops in some interesting countries along the way. In general, faster aircraft that are happy to fly low for sightseeing and can set down on short, unimproved runways are going to be good but be mindful of the airports for each leg. You may get there but not be able to stop. All airports on this route are available in MSFS in this writing:
    • Feel free to adjust waypoints if you fly larger aircraft but if you land there, you take off there. Any adjustments to waypoints have to stay within 100nm of the true waypoint.
  • The flight technically started at the Douglas Aircraft factory in Santa Monica, CA (KSMO) with three shakedown legs to get the aircraft to the official start ceremony at Sand Point, WA.
    • Those are optional but listed in the itinerary if anyone wants to shake down an airplane before the official start. (See the achievement requirements below.)
    • Likewise, the route maps don’t show the diversion by the last two aircraft to Rockwell Field on the north end of Coronado Island at San Diego for engine changes, but that’s included in this route since the planes actually did that.
    • Also of note, when the two remaining aircraft returned to the US, there was a tour of some 16 US cities on the way back to Seattle, WA. All leg endpoints are listed in the itinerary.
  • The four original crews were limited to one airplane each though there were a number of engine changes along the route. To approximate these restrictions with a nod to practicality:
    • Pilots are limited to three different aircraft, per “region” from the official start departing Boeing Field.

Note: There may be advantages to sticking with one or two aircraft for longer in case you’d like to use a plane not yet available or want to get a feel for a long-legged flight before making a commitment. If you want more of a challenge, try to do the full route in a single aircraft. Keep the long-distance legs in mind when you choose your aircraft. Some are over water with no airfields along the route to refuel. It’s looking like planes that perform similar to WWII fighter aircraft may be good. One group (Got Friends) did a similar route in the Flying Iron Spitfire but not sure how they handle the really long legs. If you like WWII planes, the Flying Iron P-38 is looking very capable. It’s fast (over 400 mph, cruise in the 300s), has a service ceiling of 44,000 feet, and the Fowler flaps can help bring it in tight on short runways, but feel free to pick what suits you. It’s not a race but an achievement – and a big one. If you do this, you will have circumnavigated the planet.

Flight Route

Division 1

  1. Santa Monica to Mc Clellan KSMO to KMCC (314 nm)
  2. Mc Clellan to Mahlon Sweet KMCC to KEUG (338 nm)
  3. Mahlon Sweet to Boeing Field KEUG to KBFI (208 nm)
  4. Boeing Field to Prince Rupert KBFI to CYPR (510 nm)
  5. Prince Rupert to Sitka Rocky CYPR to PASI (235 nm)
  6. Sitka Rupert to Mudhole PASI to PACV (378 nm)
  7. Mudhole to Homer PACV to PAHO (188 nm)
  8. Seward to Chignik PAWD to PAJC (365 nm)
  9. Chignik to Akutan PAJC to PAUT (281 nm)
  10. Akutan to Unalaska PAUT to PADU (37 nm)
  11. Unalaska to Atka PADU to PAAK (295 nm)
  12. Atka to Casco Cove PAAK to PAAT (463 nm)

Division 2

  1. Casco Cove to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky PAAT to UHPP (534 nm)
  2. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Severo-Kurilsk UHPP to USEK (366 nm)
  3. Severo-Kurilsk to Burevestnik USEK to UHSB (300 nm)
  4. Burevestnik to Hachinohe UHSB to RJSH (378 nm)
  5. Hachinohe to Hyakuri RJSH to RJAH (267 nm)
  6. Hyakuri to Kobe RJAH to RJBE (271 nm)
  7. Kobe to Kagoshima RJBE to RJFK (283 nm)

Division 3

  1. Kagoshima to Shanghai RJFK to ZSPD (460 nm)
  2. Shanghai to Fuzhou/Changle ZSPD to ZSFZ (332 nm)
  3. Fuzhou/Changle to Hong Kong ZSFZ to VHHH (383 nm)
  4. Hong Kong to Hai Phong VHHH to VVCI (412 nm)
  5. Hai Phong to Quang Nam VVCI to VVCA (343 nm)
  6. Quang Nam to Tan Son Nhat VVCA to VVTS (299 nm)
  7. Tan Son Nhat to Suvarnabhumi VVTS to VTBS (388 nm)
  8. Suvarnabhumi to Yangon VTBS to VYYY (330 nm)
  9. Yangon to Sittwe VYYY to VYSW (268 nm)
  10. Sittwe to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose VYSW to VECC (290 nm)
  11. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose to Allahabad VECC to VEAB (405 nm)

Division 4

  1. Allahabad to Indira Gandhi VEAB to VIDP (311 nm)
  2. Indira Gandhi to Multan VIDP to OPMT (314 nm)
  3. Multan to Masroor Karachi OPMT to OPMR (397 nm)
  4. Masroor Karachi to Chah-Bahar OPMR to OIZC (359 nm)
  5. Chah-Bahar to Bandar Abbass OIZC to OIKB (241 nm)
  6. Bandar Abbass to Bushehr OIKB to OIBB (312 nm)
  7. Bushehr to Baghdad OIBB to ORBI (427 nm)
  8. Baghdad to Aleppo ORBI to OSAP (388 nm)
  9. Aleppo to Konya OSAP to LTAN (249 nm)
  10. Konya to Instanbul Ataturk LTAN to LTBA (251 nm)
  11. Istanbul Ataturk to Henri Coanda LTBA to LROP (247 nm)

Division 5

  1. Henri Coanda to Beograd/Nikola Tesla LTBA to LYBE (248 nm)
  2. Beograd/Nikola Tesla to Budapest Liszt Ferenc LYBE to LHBP (164 nm)
  3. Budapest Liszt Ferenc to Tulln LHBP to LOXT (138 nm)
  4. Tulln to Strasbourg Entzheim LOXT to LFST (339 nm)
  5. Strasbourg Entzheim to Paris Le Bourget LFST to LFPB (208 nm)
  6. Paris Le Bourget to London City LFPB to EGLC (178 nm)
  7. London City to Brough EGLC to EGNB (135 nm)

Division 6

  1. Brough to Kirkwall EGNB to EGPA (325 nm)
  2. Kirkwall to Vagar EGPA to EKVG (228 nm)
  3. Vagar to Hofn Hornafirdi EKVG to BIHN (255 nm)
  4. Hofn Hornafirdi to Reykjavik BIHN to BIRK (177 nm)
  5. Reykjavik to Kulusuk BIRK to BGKK (398 nm)
  6. Kulusuk to Narsarsuaq BGKK to BGBW (248 nm)
  7. Narsarsuaq to Cartwright BGBW to CYCA (585 nm)
  8. Cartwright to Port au Choix CYCA to CCM4 (181 nm)
  9. Port au Choix to Trenton CCM4 to CYTN (372 nm)
  10. Trenton to Logan CYTN to KBOS (412 nm)
  11. Logan to Republic KBOS to KFRG (147 nm)
  12. Republic to Reagan Washington KFRG to KDCA (202 nm)
  13. Reagan Washington to Wright-Patterson KDCA to KFFO (332 nm)
  14. Wright-Patterson to Rosecrans KFFO to KSTJ (503 nm)
  15. Rosecrans to Cheyenne KSTJ to KCYS (461 nm)
  16. Cheyenne to Salt Lake City KCYS to KSLC (327 nm)
  17. Salt Lake City to Harry Reid KSLC to KLAS (320 nm)
  18. Harry Reid to North Island/Halsey KLAS to KNZY (227 nm)
  19. North Island/Halsey to Santa Monica KNZY to KSMO (101 nm)
  20. Santa Monica to Mc Clellan KSMO to KMCC (314 nm)
  21. Mc Clellan to Mahlon Sweet KMCC to KEUG (338 nm)
  22. Mahlon Sweet to Boeing Field KEUG to KBFI (208 nm)

Recommendations

  • Simulator: MSFS, P3D, XPlane, FSX, etc.
  • Aircraft: We recommend short, medium, and long-range as your choices.

In order to get credit for our flights, please adhere to the below rules

  • Register for the event (TeamSpeak @ ts3.digitalthemepark.com).
  • Fly during sponsored events or with two or more pilots online.
  • Up to four flight legs a week across all DTP achievements.
  • Real Weather / Real Time / Real Charts / No Slewing / No Time Compression.
  • Any aircraft and form of navigation allowed.
  • If unable to complete a flight, land and save the flight.

As always, meet up with us on TeamSpeak (ts3.digitalthemepark.com) for more event details.