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Wrong Way Corrigan

Aviator

Born: 22 January 1907
Died: 9 December 1995
Birthplace: Galveston, Texas
Best known as:

The flier who 'accidentally' crossed the Atlantic

On 17 July 1938, Douglas Corrigan took off from Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett airfield in a tiny single-engine plane. Corrigan had filed a flight plan for California, but 29 hours later he arrived in Ireland, claiming his compasses had failed and that he had accidentally flown the wrong way. (The flight took place 11 years after Charles Lindbergh made the first solo transatlantic flight in 1927. Corrigan was an aircraft mechanic who had actually taken part in building Lindbergh's famous plane, The Spirit of St. Louis.) Although Douglas Corrigan never quite admitted it, his 'mistake' was surely a ruse to circumvent aviation authorities who had turned down his request to make a trans-Atlantic flight. Corrigan's stunt caught the public fancy; he was given a hero's welcome on his return to New York, and "Wrong-Way Corrigan" became a popular nickname for anyone who made a big blunder or did things backwards. Corrigan published his biography, That's My Story, in 1938.

Extra credit:

"Wrong Way" Corrigan played himself in the 1938 movie The Flying Irishman.

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