NATIONAL WRONG WAY CORRIGAN DAY
National Wrong Way Corrigan Day on July 17th commemorates the transatlantic flight of an Irish-American stunt pilot from Galveston, Texas. Douglas Corrigan (January 22, 1907 – December 9, 1995) gained notoriety for an unplanned transatlantic flight to Ireland on July 17, 1938.
Growing up as a boy, Douglas Corrigan’s fascination with flight was not uncommon. Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight may have been the most impressionable moment in his young life. In 1938, the young stunt pilot flew from his home in California to New York. Upon his arrival, he he asked for permission to duplicate his hero’s historic flight. Unfortunately, his request was quickly denied due to the age of his 1929 Curtiss Robin aircraft.
With only a magnetic compass, Corrigan advised officials he was returning to California. According to the story, after takeoff, cloud cover prevented Corrigan from accurate navigation. When Corrigan dropped below the clouds hours later, he saw he was surrounded by water. It was then Corrigan realized his navigation was off. Despite the confusion, he continued on his journey. Surprisingly, 28 hours later, he landed in Ireland.
Corrigan’s story of his flight never faltered. Despite saying he was planning this secret flight, Corrigan held fast to his original explanation.
After the Flight
The wayward pilot wrote about his misadventure in his memoir That’s My Story. While the book is out of print, a few copies can be found for the right price. Corrigan also received a movie deal and soon played himself in The Flying Irishman. During World War II, he tested bombers. After the war, the stunt man toured the country with other familiar war heroes in parades. As the notoriety died down, Corrigan settled into a quiet life with his wife and family. Occasionally fame would catch up to him again when Corrigan would run into a reporter who wanted to question the veracity of his story.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL WRONG WAY CORRIGAN DAY
Explore the history of transatlantic flight and more stories like Douglas Corrigan’s. Watch The Flying Irishman or visit an air museum. Use #WrongWayCorriganDay to share on social media.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL WRONG WAY CORRIGAN DAY
National Wrong Way Corrigan Day originates with the date Corrigan left New York in 1938. In 1987, Long Island commemorated the 49th anniversary of the 80-year-old Corrigan’s flight with a parade. Respectively, the celebration was given the name “Wrong Way Corrigan Day.” The city of Galveston, Texas, proclaimed Wrong Way Corrigan Day in 1992 to be celebrated on January 22nd, the date of their hometown hero’s birth.
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