World Flight Monument – Seattle, Washington - Atlas Obscura
Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

Seattle, Washington

World Flight Monument

This gold-winged spire celebrates the first true flight around the world. 

Formerly the location of Naval Air Station Seattle, Warren G. Magnuson Park was the starting and ending point of the world’s first aerial circumnavigation of the globe, which is commemorated by the World Flight Monument.

To attempt the all-encompassing flight, four aircraft, named Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and New Orleans left the naval station for Alaska on April 6, 1924. The Seattle was forced to drop out after running into engine trouble in Alaska and the remaining aircraft continued to Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, French Indochina, Thailand, Burma, India, the Middle East and Europe. Despite mechanical troubles, all three remaining planes reached the Atlantic Ocean before the Boston was forced down into the sea. The Chicago and the New Orleans continued the flight by way of Iceland and Greenland. In Nova Scotia the planes were joined by the crew of the Boston, in a new plane called the Boston II. After a stop in Washington D.C. and in 14 other cities around the United States, the planes returned to Naval Station Puget Sound in Seattle on September 28. 1924.

The monument, comprised of a pair of bronze bird wings atop a tapering concrete tower, is dedicated to the U.S. Army officers who undertook the groundbreaking flight. Despite Charles Lindburgh later stealing the spotlight for a similar feat, the World Flight Monument remembers that first time that brave men crossed the Earth as the crow flies.