The Beginnings: 1903-1926

The Douglas Co. ... World Cruisers

In June 1921, the Cloudster set out for its flight from March Field, Calif., to Curtiss Field, N.Y., but engine trouble forced it to make an emergency landing in Texas, and it was flown back to March Field for installation of an improved engine. By then, Douglas had landed a contract to build torpedo bombers for the Navy, starting with the DT-1 (Douglas torpedo, first), followed by the DT-2 production version.

After the Douglas-built Cloudster failed to fly first across the country, David R. Davis sold his portion of the company to Donald Douglas and left the business.

Douglas World Cruisers prepare to depart from Clover Field, Santa Monica, Calif.In July 1921, Douglas incorporated The Douglas Co. on his own and in the summer of 1922, leased an abandoned movie studio on Wilshire Boulevard near Santa Monica, Calif. There he began to build the Douglas World Cruiser, based on the DT-2. Two of these ultimately circled the world, flying 27,553 miles in a little more than 371 hours of actual flight time, earning the company its motto, "First Around the World."

The first four Douglas World Cruisers were named the Seattle, the Boston, the Chicago and the New Orleans. The Chicago and the New Orleans made the trip in six months and six days. The Seattle made it to Alaska, but after staying behind for repairs, crashed into a mountainside as it tried to catch up. The Boston made a forced landing in the Atlantic but by the last leg of the flight around the world, was replaced by a fifth airplane that had been delivered to the Army Air Service for testing and renamed Boston II.

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