Previous around-the-world flights

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Gillespie: TIME magazine saw Earhart's world flight as an over-hyped publicity stunt. What was different about it from the six previous aerial circumnavigations was that Earhart was aiming to be the first woman pilot to circle the globe.

"Between 1924 and 1933 the globe was girdled six times by aircraft. Last year, when Pan American Airways started carrying passengers across the Pacific, reporters Herbert Ekins and Leo Kieran circled the globe on commercial lines. Soon after, Pan American’s President Juan Terry Trippe and a party of friends also flew around on commercial lines. Last week, Aviatrix Amelia Earhart Putnam took off from Oakland “to establish the feasibility of circling the globe by commercial air travel” and “to determine just how human beings react under strain and fatigue” (Mar. 29, 1937).

Previous successful expeditions
year aircraft crew distance time
1924 Four Douglas DT-2 World Cruisers Eight Army crewmen 26,000 miles 175 days
1929 LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin 19,500 miles (beginning and ending in Lakehurst, NJ) 12 days and 11 minutes
1930 Fokker F7 (Southern Cross) Charles E. Kingsford-Smith & Charles P.T. Ulm ~25,000 miles 2 years 1 month 4 days
1931 Lockheed Vega (Winnie Mae) Wiley Post and Harold Gatty 15,474 miles 8 days, 15 hours, 51 minutes
1931 Bellanca "J-300 Long Distance Special" (Miss Veedol) Clyde Edward Pangborn & Hugh Herndon, Jr.
1933 Lockheed Vega (Winnie Mae) Wiley Post, solo (autopilot and RDF) 15,596 miles 7 days, 18 minutes

After Amelia

In 1938, Howard Hughes flew around the world in a Lockheed 14. The flight followed the northerly route, covering 14,672 miles, and took 3 days, 19 hours and 17 minutes.


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