NATIONAL WRONG WAY CORRIGAN DAY
An Irish-American stunt pilot from Galveston, Texas, gained notoriety for an unplanned transatlantic flight to Ireland on July 17, 1938. It is National Wrong Way Corrigan Day.
Growing up as a boy, Douglas Corrigan’s (January 22, 1907- December 9, 1995) 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 and requested permission to duplicate his hero’s historic flight. They quickly denied his request due to the age of Corrigan’s 1929 Curtiss Robin.
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. It wasn’t until he dropped below the clouds hours later and saw water surrounded him that Corrigan realized his navigation was off, and 28 hours later he landed in Ireland. Or so he said. Reporters suggested Corrigan made secret plans to repeat his hero’s flight anyway, but years later Corrigan held to his original explanation.
Corrigan’s received a movie deal and soon played himself in The Flying Irishman. During World War II, he tested bombers and after the war 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 running into a reporter who wanted question the veracity of his story.
HOW TO OBSERVE
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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 and called the day “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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