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joefremont

Around the world in 175 days

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I have recently been inspired by a virtual around the world by Peter McLeland that he had been posting on the CBFS forum. I began to think about doing something similar, but did not want to just copy what he was doing. My research on alternatives and came across the story of the very first flight around the world.  In March/April of 1924 a team from the United States Army Air Service, started there attempt to be the first to fly around the world.  The aircraft they used was the 'Douglas World Cruiser', a modification of the Douglas DT-2, an early 1920's torpedo bomber being built at the time for the US Navy.  It was a two seat, open cockpit bi-plane powered by a 400hp surplus Liberty engine that on average had to be replaced every 60 hours of flight time.  It could be easily converted from wheels to floats and was modified to carry 644 gallons (2,438 liters) of fuel (up from 115 gallons).

They started there adventure in Santa Monica California, the site of the Douglas Aircraft factory and flew to Seattle where the trip was to officially began.  They made 74 stops, travelled 26,345 Statute miles (22,893 nm) and took 175 days, passing through Alaska, Japan, China, French Indochina (now Vietnam),  India,  Persia, Turkey, Austria, France, Britain, Iceland, Greenland and Canada (and several other countries along the way) before returning back to the United States.  Along the way they lost two aircraft, one crashed in Alaska, one force landed in the North Atlantic and sank but all the crews survived.  

Most of my information on the trip came from the book “Around the world in 175 days” by Carroll V. Glines and will liberally quote from this book while writing my descriptions.

In planning this first thing I discovered was I could not find a Douglas World Cruiser that was really up to the standard I wanted to use.  I found one that was a FS2002/2004 model that looked pretty primitive in FSX/P3D and whose panel was way to modern, the original aircraft only had four gauges in the cockpit.  Besides I don't think I would have the patience to fly this single slow aircraft for the entire trip, so instead I will make the trip around the world also a trip through the history of aviation, starting with something early from the Wright Brothers and ending with something very modern.  Trying to make sure that whatever aircraft I use was still in production after all the previous aircraft were introduced. This will give me an excuse to dig into my large collection of aircraft I have amassed.  

I will try to fly the original route as close as possible.  Many of the early legs will be broken up into multiple shorter since many of the early aircraft I will be using are not as capable as the DWC.  When possible I will try to fly at 1x speed with real world weather.   Most of the flights will be flown using P3D v3.4 but some may be flown in FSX or X-Plane depending on what works best for the aircraft/location.  I worked out a plan that involves 85 stops covering 25,875 statute miles/22485 nm, we will see how many days it takes me.

I do reserve the right to patch in the hand held GPS/Radio on aircraft not equipped, and to install a period appropriate autopilot on aircraft that are not equipped but could plausibly have been so.

The entire trip will be recorded using the FSAirlines.net flight tracking client.  I will be using the new aircraft rental feature, currently in beta test on our site.

Having said all that, the adventure begins.....

Note, I always intended to post these here but when I got started somehow forgot.  Rather than posting all at once I will post one leg every day or two until I am caught up with my current progress.  If you have seen these before I apologize.

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March 17, 1924.  The four pilots had assembled at the Douglas Factory at the airport in Santa Monica California.  Over the previous few months they had completed there training, each pilot had selected a mechanic to fly with them and done a test flight from Santa Monica to ¬San Diego and back.  Major Frederick Martin had selected Sergeant Alva Harvey to be his mechanic and co-pilot. Lt Lowell H. Smith  had selected Lt. Leslie P. Arnold, Lt. Leigh P. Wade had selected Sergeant Henry H. Ogden, and Lt. Erik Nelson had selected Lt. Jack Harding.  Lt. Nelson had experienced engine problems on his test flight to San Diego and decided to have the engine on his aircraft replaced.  The other three crews loaded up there aircraft and started flying for Sacramento California, Lt Nelson would catch up with them later.

May 25, 2017.  For this first leg I was using the Wright Model B, created by First Class Simulations.  Of all the aircraft I plan to use, this one scares me the most.  The Model B was the first mass produced aircraft by the Wright Brothers, and when you read about the number of pilots killed flying it, in the few years it was actually used you get the feeling its a death trap.  You are literally sitting in a seat attached to the leading edge of the wing with very little frame around you.  The window of speeds between stalling and over speed is pretty small and the aircraft is very underpowered.  I had too increase the propeller efficiency from .6 to .75 just to give enough power to get off the ground and stay airborne. This morning the weather was perfect for flying, clear, winds 3-4kn, perfect for flying an aircraft that cruises at 45mph.  I did not think this aircraft would get over the Tehachapi mountains north of Los Angeles  so I decided to fly up the California coast instead.  So today my destination is the city of Santa Barbara, 73 nm away.  The flight was thankfully uneventful, and I arrived at the Santa Barbara Municipal airport 1.4 hours later.  Here are a few pics from the flight.

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Ready for takeoff.

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Climbing out of Santa Monica, the trip is finally started!

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Flying over Santa Monica heading for the coast

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Heading up the coast.

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The harbor in Ventura California.

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My destination, the Santa Barbara Airport.

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