Douglas Corrigan was an Irish American stunt pilot who loved Charles Lindbergh and wanted to emulate his flight to Europe. He asked permission to make the same flight but was denied because his airplane was a 1929 Curtiss Robin and too old.
Disappointed he decided to return to California from Galveston, Texas where he had been waiting word. He set his flight plan and took off. Above the clouds he could not really see where he was going and apparently his compass was not reading correctly. When he came down out of the clouds to get a visual, he found himself over water. He continued to fly, probably lost but also determined and found himself in Ireland 28 hours later. The date ws July 17th, 1938.
I have to wonder if he did not have this planned all along since the amount of fuel to fly from Texas to California would be a lot less than to fly to Ireland from Texas. But let’s give him his due as he earned the nick name “Wrong Way Corrigan”
In 1939 a film was made about his flight called “The Flying Irishman”. His fame and popularity grew by leaps and bounds.
When World War 2 broke out he became a test pilot for bombers ensuring that when they reached Europe or Asia they would handle like they were intended. After the war he went on a tour of the United States with the war heroes program and then retired to enjoy his family and a calmer way of life.
Even during his retirement his fame continued to grow and in 1987 Long Island commemorated the 49th anniversary of his wrong way flight. Then in 1992 the city of Galveston, where this whole adventure began, celebrated a Wrong Way Corrigan Day which has been celebrated ever since.
At least Corrigan lived long enough to celebrate with the city, passing away in 1995. So here’s to the guy that made a huge mistake that made him a hero in so many ways the rest of his life.
How to celebrate – Read up about Corrigan and his adventures. See how many other people succeeded in life when they made mistakes. Don’t give up just because you did something wrong, who knows… maybe it could make the rest of your life shine even brighter.