The Spirit of Santa Monica
Between 1920 and 1975, Donald Douglas’ company—and a southern California city—helped shape aviation history.
- By The Editors
- Air & Space magazine, April 2012
Courtesy Bill Wasserzieher
In 1923, Douglas received a contract from the U.S. Army Air Corps to build the Douglas World Cruisers (above), which shortly afterward became the first aircraft to circumnavigate the globe. Their record-setting flight made Donald W. Douglas an international hero in the world of aviation, and put his Santa Monica Airport on the map.
“I remember the day the World Cruisers landed," recalled Lindsay P. Kilgore, a 42-year Douglas employee and former scholarship committee chairman for the Douglas Aircraft Welfare Foundation. "Our Boy Scout troop was asked to direct the cars to parking. I had never in my life seen so many people in one place. In all the excitement, I left my sweater hanging on a tree and forgot it. When I got home, my mother was really unhappy with me, but when we went back the next morning, there was my sweater hanging on the tree right where I left it. That day was so exciting! I knew right then that I wanted to work for Douglas!”