The Seattle II Project

 

 

Seattle World Cruiser Project Requirements
Design and Upgrades

The Seattle World Cruiser will fly around the world, celebrating the 1924 feat, as the first circling of the world by air. Safety and reliability are, of course, paramount issues. The 1924 Douglas World Cruiser was, in itself, a successful and durable design, and became the basis for several follow-on contracts with the Navy and commercial operators.

The Liberty V-12 engine, of Hull and Vincent fame, was a fine powerplant for the World War I DeHavilland DH4 aircraft built on contract in this country. Naturally, the engine was our first focus for upgrading. We will restore a Liberty V-12 engine for the world flight.

Another major area for upgrading is the fuselage. The Douglas World Cruiser of 1924 was a redesign by Donald Douglas and Jack Northrup of a successful Navy torpedo-carrying float plane. In this transition, the fuselage moved from a combination tube-and-wire-trussed wood affair to an all-tubing assemblage with some adjustable, metal tie rods. We will replace the tie rods with tubing. Ease, cost, strength, as well as reliability of modern materials and methods, motivate this use of a unified fabrication approach.

Where the original aircraft had a basic electrical system for starter and running lights, we will add to this a state-of-the-art avionics package, as required in the international aviation environment. Also, to accommodate modern landing facilities, we will replace the tail skid with a wheel and install brakes on the main landing gear.

Edo metal floats with water rudders will be used instead of the original non-steerable wooden pontoons. Durability of metal floats and better hydrodynamic design will better serve the Seattle World Cruiser on its world flight.

The original aircraft's cover material was cotton. This fabric was organic and the paints used were very flammable. When wet, the cover would sag and distort the airfoil. The water also added considerable weight to the aircraft, degrading performance. In the sun, the old fabric would dry out and tighten, again distorting the airframe. Additionally, the original fabric was prone to rot, requiring replacement many times during an aircraft's lifetime. New materials and processes have led to the development of long-lasting, durable covers and finishes, which are non-flammable. These, we will use.

This outline is not complete but does address major elements which demonstrate our approach to this fascinating reproduction project.

We have extensive research materials, both historic and structural, and will be working from original drawings and photographs. Our building approach will be guided by the philosophy that the success of the world flight will be based on reliability and safety.

Our goal in this process is to maintain visual authenticity. We will use all aircraft certified materials, hardware, parts, and accepted aviation techniques. For example, we will use 4130 aircraft steel tubing, aircraft quality glues, modern fabrics, non-flammable paints, and certified "AN" hardware and fasteners. Other elements that constitute reliability and safety concerns will be chosen for their history and suitability to these goals.

We have developed a fabrication and assembly checklist that will be used in conjunction with our building schedule. This process will be documented with photos and logbook entries which correlate with inspection sign-offs.


We are fortunate to have assembled a unique staff of FAA certified mechanics and inspectors, assisted by aircraft builders and designers from the commercial, experimental, and antique aircraft restoration fields. With this highly skilled and motivated team, the Seattle World Cruiser is assured of meeting schedule and flight goals. Please join us in celebrating this unique historical event.