Commemorating the Completion of the First Flights Around the World.
Impressive panoramic photograph of the U.S. Army Air Service "Around-The-World-Flyers" - the first group of pilots, mechanics, and airplanes to fly directly around the world, celebrating the completion of their journey in front of large crowds at Crissy Field, San Francisco on September 25, 1924.
The photo stretches across Crissy Field at the San Francisco Presidio, with the Golden Gate at the left and the city of San Francisco visible at the right. Many large crowds and some other early aircraft are visible in the background.
Crissy Field had been constructed starting in 1919, as part of a project to establish aerial defenses on the U.S. oceanic coastlines.
First Aerial Circumnavigation
Wikipedia provides the following summary of the feat:
The first aerial circumnavigation of the world was completed in 1924 by four aviators from an eight-man team of the United States Army Air Service, the precursor of the United States Air Force. The 175-day journey covered over 26,345 miles (42,398 km). The team generally traveled east to west, around the northern-Pacific Rim, through to South Asia and Europe and back to the United States. Airmen Lowell H. Smith and Leslie P. Arnold, and Erik H. Nelson and John Harding Jr. made the trip in two single-engined open-cockpit Douglas World Cruisers (DWC) configured as floatplanes for most of the journey. Four more flyers in two additional DWC began the journey but their aircraft crashed or were forced down. All airmen survived.
The journey began at Clover Field, Santa Monica on April 6, 1924, with four airplanes, however, two of them did not make the full journey and so only two are shown here at the end of the route.
The circumnavigation was officially completed upon the return of the planes to Seattle, three days after this photo was taken, on September 28, 1924.
The exploits of the flyers were closely followed throughout their voyage, and on the day they arrived in San Francisco, stories dominated the local newspapers. One section of the San Francisco Examiner relayed the following message from Lieutenant Lowell Smith, the Squadron Commander of the World Flyers:
I join with the men of my squadron in sending greetings to my friends in the service, my many friends in San Francisco and the people of the city generally.
All should be plain sailing now for we are on the last leg of our journey. But I am not going to say anything an accident might make me regret having said. We are not anticipating any trouble, but in the flying game eternal vigilance is the price of safety.
Naturally, we all are overjoyed to be back in California, overjoyed to be so near achieving what we set out to accomplish when we took off from Clover Field, Santa Monica, on our world flight.
And we shall be mighty glad when we land in San Francisco and can meet our good friends in your city.
Until the flight has been concluded by our arrival in Seattle we must watch our step every minute, but in two weeks we shall return to San Francisco and then there will be less hiding out on our part and more opportunity to enjoy San Francisco and its people.