Collection Item Historical note:
In 1924, the U.S. Army Air Service decided to attempt an around the world flight to prove that the airplane was a valuable and viable method of transportation and could therefore have a great impact on the world's future. The Douglas Aircraft Company was commissioned by the Army Air Service to build an aircraft for the flight. The result was the Douglas O-5 Observation Seaplane, which was referred to in 1924 as the Douglas World Cruiser (DWC). The O-5 grew out of the 1923 Douglas Observation Seaplane (DOS).
On April 6, 1924, four Army Air Service DWC Seaplanes departed from Seattle, Washington in an attempt to fly around the world. They were the: "Seattle", "Chicago", "Boston" and "New Orleans". The "Seattle" was delayed by a forced landing caused by engine trouble early on and was trying to catch up to the others when bad weather forced it off course. It crashed near Chignik, Alaska. The "Boston" suddenly lost oil pressure and had to land at sea between Orkney and Faroe Islands. Although the landing was successful, the "Boston" was damaged beyond repair during an attempt to hoist it on board the USS Richmond. At Pictou Harbor, Nova Scotia, the prototype aircraft arrived to join the remaining two and became the "Boston II". From there the planes flew on across the United States and landed at Sand Point Field in Seattle, Washington on September 28, 1924 having accomplished the 27,553-mile flight around the world.
Two of the World Cruisers still survive. The "New Orleans" (#4) is in the Air Force Museum at Dayton, Ohio. The "Chicago" (#2) is in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.