"Wrong Way Corrigan" Day celebrates the life of aviator Douglas Corrigan. He was not known for exceptional flying skills, but rather for a miraculous "blunder."
Corrigan was a pilot in the 1920's and 1930's. After Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic in 1927, Corrigan made a resolution that he'd do the same. In the mid 1930's, Corrigan applied to fly his plane from New York City to Dublin, Ireland (his home country). He was denied because he wasn't experienced enough and his plane wasn't sound enough to last the journey. Two years later, he reapplied and was rejected again.
Corrigan grew tired of the red tape, even though he was approved for cross-country travel. In 1938, he boarded his one-seat plane for an approved trip to California. Onlookers and airport watchers were surprised that he kept flying East instead of West. Twenty-six hours into the flight, Corrigan dropped out of the clouds to notice that nothing but water surrounded him. He soon realized that instead of flying to California, he was heading to Dublin "by accident." He later reported that he just read the compass wrong and that foggy conditions prevented him from noticing anything.
When Corrigan returned to the U.S., his aviation license was suspended, but he was a national hero. New York threw him a ticker tape parade with more than one million in attendance. "Wrong Way Corrigan" became a popular phrase meaning either backwards or representing a rebellion against red tape. Corrigan never admitted whether or not he intentionally flew to Ireland.
Friday, July 17, 2009
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