picture of today: Douglas ‘Wrong-Way’ Corrigan


Douglas ‘Wrong-Way’ Corrigan

Pilot Douglas Corrigan sought permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to fly across the Atlantic from New York to Ireland, but he was turned down on the grounds that his plane was in poor condition. Corrigan seemed to accept the ruling, but when he took off from New York on July 17, 1938, he banked sharply to the east and headed out over the ocean. Twenty-eight hours and 13 minutes later, Corrigan landed in Ireland, innocently explaining that his 180-degree wrong turn must have been due to a faulty compass. No one believed Corrigan’s explanation, especially the aviation authorities in both Ireland and America, who suspended the rebellious pilot’s license and ordered his aircraft dismantled. Upon his return to America, ‘Wrong-Way’ Corrigan was greeted as a hero. More than a million people lined New York’s Broadway for a ticker-tape parade honoring the man who had flown in the face of authority.

Photo: Library of Congress

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