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Seattle celebrates the 100th anniversary of the first world flight

The journey took off on April 7, 1924, and ended at Sand Point in northeast Seattle.

This black and white photo shows a pilot and crew standing around one of the planes that completed the trip.

“Chicago” was one of the two DT-2 Bombers that successfully completed the circumnavigation.

If we were to step back 100 years in time, we’d find ourselves just on the precipice of an impressive event not just for Seattle, but the world — the first global circumnavigation by plane.

On April 6, 1924, four airplanes took off from Seattle’s Sand Point with the hopes of being the first team to circumnavigate the Earth by airplane.

A few other countries had attempted the feat already — Great Britain tried and failed in 1922 and France tried the year after — and by 1923, several others, including the US, were in on the race.

But the US succeeded in being the first — here’s the story.

A large crowd flocks around three planes in this black and white image.

There was quite a bit of fanfare — of course — once the pilots returned back to Sand Point in September 1924.

Photo courtesy of PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection, Museum of History & Industry

Taking to the sky

Following the resolution of World War I, the globe became invested in developing an aircraft that was light enough to stay aloft, but sturdy enough to be able to make a round-the-world trip.

Once the US military settled on a modified DT-2 Bomber for the feat, it began distributing its thousands of gallons of fuel, 35 replacement engines, and other spare parts across the globe.

Then, the “Magellans of the Sky” (or the eight pilots tasked with making the trailblazing journey) traveled from Santa Monica to Seattle to get ready for the journey.

On April 6, 1924 — a few days after takeoff was initially scheduled to happen — the team took to the sky, bound for Prince Rupert, BC.

After 175 days, 363 hours of flying time, and 26,345 miles traveled, two of the four planes (two planes were lost to crashes, but all crew survived) returned to Seattle where a crowd of ~50,000 waited to celebrate.

Join the (history) party

To celebrate the great technological feat, Seattle Parks and Rec will be hosting a centennial celebration featuring “historical banter,” drinks, dancers, and raffle prizes.

Give it a gander:

Where: Magnuson Park Cafe and Brewery, 7801 62nd Ave. NE
When: Saturday, April 6, 2-4 p.m.