Aviation News

Texas history Wrong Way Corrigan and the pages of aviation history


     Accidents happen.  People make wrong turns.  Sometimes these end badly, sometimes not.  One supposed wrong turn became part of an aviation legend.  And with it, Texas native Douglas Corrigan became known for one of the most bizarre feats in aviation history – the transatlantic flight that went the wrong way. 

                Douglas Corrigan was born in Galveston in 1907, less than four years after the Wright Brothers completed their historic first flight.  His father was an engineer, and the family moved often.  But his home life was fractious, and his parents divorced when he was still young.  Eventually, he ended up with his mother, sister, and brother in Los Angeles. 


                He dropped out of high school as a teenager and took odd jobs in construction.  In 1925, he happened across a pilot offering plane rides for $2.50.  Curious, Corrigan paid the fee, hopped into the Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, and instantly fell in love with flying.  He began taking lessons, and five months later, he was a licensed pilot. 

                Not long after he earned his license, he began working for the Ryan Aircraft Co. in San Diego, California.  He helped assemble Charles Lindbergh’s custom-built Spirit of St. Louis that would later be used for the historic first transatlantic flight in May 1927.  In the meantime, Corrigan continued to perfect his own piloting skills.  He eventually began performing aerial stunts in company airplanes on his lunch breaks, much to the frustration of his employers. 


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