Sunday, July 17, 2011
“Wrong Way” Corrigan Begins the Flight That Gave Him His Name
Today July 17th, 1938 – Douglas Corrigan takes off to fly the “wrong way” to Ireland and becomes known as “Wrong Way” Corrigan.
The Feds said his plane, "Sunshine", was unsafe due to a gasoline leak, 9 years old and a second hand wreck. The plane was purchased by Corrigan for $325 and the authorities felt it was simply too old and unsafe to make such a journey over water, and denied him permission for the flight to Ireland, so he took off, with 320 gallons of gasoline, 16 US gallons of oil, two chocolate bars, two boxes of fig bars, and .25 gallon of water, ostensibly for home in Los Angeles, and ended up in Ireland, claiming he’d gotten lost. He claimed his unauthorized flight was due to a navigational error, caused by heavy cloud cover that obscured landmarks and low-light conditions, causing him to misread his compass. In his words to a US government official after landing in Ireland "I sure am ashamed of that navigation." He landed at Baldonnel Aerodrome, County Dublin, on July 18, after a 28-hour, 13-minute flight. He lost his US Flying license for fourteen days and became a legend.
Corrigan retired from aviation in 1950 and bought an 18-acre orange grove in Santa Ana, California. He lived there with his wife and three sons until his death on December 9, 1995.