Corrigan, Douglas “Wrong Way”


Folk hero for “mistakenly” flying New York-Ireland solo 1938



Autograph ID: 3027
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1907-1995) Legendary aviator, because of his supposed navigational error, in 1938, Corrigan “mistakenly” flew from New York to Ireland-instead of to California–because he seemingly misread his compass. Corrigan’s antic provided a great deal of humor and uplift and he became a national folk hero. In October 1925, took his first flying lesson and on March 25, 1926, made his first solo flight. Inspired by Lindbergh’s trip, he decided to make his own transatlantic flight to Ireland. In 1933, he bought a used OX5 Robin monoplane and began to modify it for a transatlantic flight. In 1935 he applied to the federal government for permission to make a non-stop flight from New York to Ireland. Officials denied his application claiming his plane was not sound enough to make a non-stop transatlantic trip. They did certify it for cross-country journeys. Over the next 2 years, each time he reapplied for permission, he was turned down. On July 8, 1938, he left California for New York. His official flight plan called for him to return to California, and on July 17, Corrigan took off from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn in thick fog and headed east since there were some buildings at the western edge of the field. To everyone’s surprise, he kept flying eastward. Corrigan insisted his visibility was so poor that he could only fly by using his he claimed to have finally dropped down out of the clouds and noticed that he was over water. As it was too early to have reached the Pacific Ocean, Corrigan looked at his compass–and as there was now more light to see by–suddenly noticed he “had been following the wrong end of the magnetic needle.” Shortly Corrigan was over Ireland. He landed at Baldonnel Airport, in Dublin, after a 28-hour, 13-minute flight. When officials questioned Corrigan, he explained that he gotten mixed up in the clouds and flown the wrong way and replied: “That’s my story.” Corrigan received a brief suspension of his pilot’s license, which lasted only until the day he returned to New York via steamship. He returned home a hero. People loved his audacity and spirit. He received a Broadway ticker-tape parade with more than a million people lining the street, more than had turned out to honor Lindbergh.

Inscribed & signed (in blue fountain pen ink) vintage 4 ½ x 5 ½ autograph album page”
Type: signature

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