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18 July 1938 - 'Wrong Way Corrigan' flys across the Atlantic solo from New York to Dublin

Catalpast

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18 July 1938: Douglas Corrigan - ‘Wrong way Corrigan’ - landed at Baldonnel Aerodrome Co Dublin after flying across the Atlantic solo in his aircraft Sunshine on this day. His arrival was totally unexpected and on being asked from whence he came he answered ‘New York’ - much the incredulity of those who had gathered around him.

Despite his assertion that he had simply lost his way on take off and instead of turning west for California he had inadvertently headed east for Ireland no one really believed him. He had started his working life as a mechanic and had caught the Flying Bug when he took a ride up in a plane some years previously. He got his pilots license & took up stunt flying to earn a living. But he always hankered to do something out of the ordinary and settled on Ireland (the Homeland of his ancestors) as a place he would like to fly to.


He saved up his salary and spent $300 on buying a second hand 1929 Curtiss Robin OX-5 monoplane and flew it home, where he returned to work as an aircraft mechanic and began to modify the Robin for a transatlantic flight. Having installed an engine built from two old Wright Whirlwind J6-5 engines (affording 165 hp (123 kW) instead of the 90 hp (67 kW) of the original) and extra fuel tanks, Corrigan applied to the Bureau of Air Commerce in 1935, seeking permission to make a nonstop flight from New York to Ireland. The application was rejected; his plane was deemed unsound for a nonstop transatlantic trip, although it was certified to the lower standard for cross-country journeys.


But Corrigan was nothing if not a tryer and on 17 July 1938 he took off at 5:15 in the morning with 320 US gallons (1,200 L) of gasoline and 16 US gallons (61 L) of oil on board. Corrigan headed east from the 4,200-foot (1,300 m) runway of Floyd Bennet Field New York to begin his epic journey.


He landed at Baldonnel Aerodrome on July 18, after a 28-hour, 13-minute flight. His provisions had been just two chocolate bars & two boxes of fig bars, and 25 US gal (94.64 L) of water.


Corrigan's plane had fuel tanks mounted on the front, allowing him to see only out of the sides. He had no radio and his compass was 20 years old, but somehow he made it. His daring flight alone across the Atlantic Ocean made headlines across the World. Back in the USA he was nicknamed ‘Wrong Way Corrigan’ when he claimed to have flown East instead of West on take off. It was said that his tickertape parade through the streets of New York City outshone that of his great hero Charles Lindbergh - who curiously never acknowledged his achievement.


The journalist H.R. Knickerbocker who met Corrigan in Ireland after his arrival, wrote in 1941:


You may say that Corrigan's flight could not be compared to Lindbergh's in its sensational appeal as the first solo flight across the ocean. Yes, but in another way the obscure little Irishman's flight was the more audacious of the two. Lindbergh had a plane specially constructed, the finest money could buy. He had lavish financial backing, friends to help him at every turn. Corrigan had nothing but his own ambition, courage, and ability. His plane, a nine-year-old Curtiss Robin was the most wretched-looking jalopy.


As I looked over it at the Dublin airdrome I really marveled that anyone should have been rash enough even to go in the air with it, much less try to fly the Atlantic. He built it, or rebuilt it, practically as a boy would build a scooter out of a soapbox and a pair of old roller skates. It looked it. The nose of the engine hood was a mass of patches soldered by Corrigan himself into a crazy-quilt design. The door behind which Corrigan crouched for twentyeight hours was fastened together with a piece of baling wire. The reserve gasoline tanks put together by Corrigan, left him so little room that he had to sit hunched forward with his knees cramped, and not enough window space to see the ground when landing.


The following year, he starred as himself in The Flying Irishman, a movie biography. The $75,000 he earned was the equivalent of 30 years income at his airfield jobs. During the War he flew planes for the US Transport Command and then went back to California where he bought an Orange Farm. He died there in 1995. To the end he never admitted to anything other than flying ‘the wrong way’.
 


Ardillaun

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Great to hear the real story. There's a street round the corner from me named after him.
 

Ireniall

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18 July 1938: Douglas Corrigan - ‘Wrong way Corrigan’ - landed at Baldonnel Aerodrome Co Dublin after flying across the Atlantic solo in his aircraft Sunshine on this day. His arrival was totally unexpected and on being asked from whence he came he answered ‘New York’ - much the incredulity of those who had gathered around him.

Despite his assertion that he had simply lost his way on take off and instead of turning west for California he had inadvertently headed east for Ireland no one really believed him. He had started his working life as a mechanic and had caught the Flying Bug when he took a ride up in a plane some years previously. He got his pilots license & took up stunt flying to earn a living. But he always hankered to do something out of the ordinary and settled on Ireland (the Homeland of his ancestors) as a place he would like to fly to.


He saved up his salary and spent $300 on buying a second hand 1929 Curtiss Robin OX-5 monoplane and flew it home, where he returned to work as an aircraft mechanic and began to modify the Robin for a transatlantic flight. Having installed an engine built from two old Wright Whirlwind J6-5 engines (affording 165 hp (123 kW) instead of the 90 hp (67 kW) of the original) and extra fuel tanks, Corrigan applied to the Bureau of Air Commerce in 1935, seeking permission to make a nonstop flight from New York to Ireland. The application was rejected; his plane was deemed unsound for a nonstop transatlantic trip, although it was certified to the lower standard for cross-country journeys.


But Corrigan was nothing if not a tryer and on 17 July 1938 he took off at 5:15 in the morning with 320 US gallons (1,200 L) of gasoline and 16 US gallons (61 L) of oil on board. Corrigan headed east from the 4,200-foot (1,300 m) runway of Floyd Bennet Field New York to begin his epic journey.


He landed at Baldonnel Aerodrome on July 18, after a 28-hour, 13-minute flight. His provisions had been just two chocolate bars & two boxes of fig bars, and 25 US gal (94.64 L) of water.


Corrigan's plane had fuel tanks mounted on the front, allowing him to see only out of the sides. He had no radio and his compass was 20 years old, but somehow he made it. His daring flight alone across the Atlantic Ocean made headlines across the World. Back in the USA he was nicknamed ‘Wrong Way Corrigan’ when he claimed to have flown East instead of West on take off. It was said that his tickertape parade through the streets of New York City outshone that of his great hero Charles Lindbergh - who curiously never acknowledged his achievement.


The journalist H.R. Knickerbocker who met Corrigan in Ireland after his arrival, wrote in 1941:


You may say that Corrigan's flight could not be compared to Lindbergh's in its sensational appeal as the first solo flight across the ocean. Yes, but in another way the obscure little Irishman's flight was the more audacious of the two. Lindbergh had a plane specially constructed, the finest money could buy. He had lavish financial backing, friends to help him at every turn. Corrigan had nothing but his own ambition, courage, and ability. His plane, a nine-year-old Curtiss Robin was the most wretched-looking jalopy.


As I looked over it at the Dublin airdrome I really marveled that anyone should have been rash enough even to go in the air with it, much less try to fly the Atlantic. He built it, or rebuilt it, practically as a boy would build a scooter out of a soapbox and a pair of old roller skates. It looked it. The nose of the engine hood was a mass of patches soldered by Corrigan himself into a crazy-quilt design. The door behind which Corrigan crouched for twentyeight hours was fastened together with a piece of baling wire. The reserve gasoline tanks put together by Corrigan, left him so little room that he had to sit hunched forward with his knees cramped, and not enough window space to see the ground when landing.


The following year, he starred as himself in The Flying Irishman, a movie biography. The $75,000 he earned was the equivalent of 30 years income at his airfield jobs. During the War he flew planes for the US Transport Command and then went back to California where he bought an Orange Farm. He died there in 1995. To the end he never admitted to anything other than flying ‘the wrong way’.
What a top class great guy and how petty of Lindberg not to acknowledge his amazing bravery and skill. He was the bigger of the two in my opinion.
 

Catalpast

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What a top class great guy and how petty of Lindberg not to acknowledge his amazing bravery and skill. He was the bigger of the two in my opinion.
Yes bit strange that

Corrigan had worked on the Spirit of St Loius so their paths must have crossed at some stage
 

Roberto Jordan

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Yes bit strange that

Corrigan had worked on the Spirit of St Loius so their paths must have crossed at some stage
Given Lindbergh's achievement came the guts of a decade after Alcock & brown perhaps he was sensitive to any diminution of his fame via acknowledgement of others?

Or maybe the national socialism was not the only flaw in his character.

I mean, while recognizing that no one claims Columbus now as the first european to arrive to in the americas in the last millennia, its not like the first solo transtalantic sailing voyage is held up to wider fame than the voyage of the Nina , Pinta and Santa Maria.

Most Americans I have ever spoken to about Lindbergh are shocked to learn his was the first solo flight rather than the first non-stop flight ever. To the extent that i reference it here in explaining to young grads why they need to balance modesty & good graces against the downsides of others gaining credit & reputation for their achievements.
 

Schuhart

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This is not the only piece of trans-Atlantic aviation history associated with Baldonnel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bremen_(aircraft)

The Bremen is a German Junkers W 33 aircraft that made the first successful transatlantic aeroplane flight from east to west between April 12 and 13, 1928.

The Bremen left Baldonnel Aerodrome, Ireland on April 12 and flew to Greenly Island, Canada, arriving on April 13, after a flight fraught with difficult conditions and compass problems. The crew consisted of pilot Captain Hermann Köhl, the navigator, Major James Fitzmaurice, and the owner of the aircraft, Ehrenfried Günther Freiherr von Hünefeld.
 
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What a top class great guy and how petty of Lindberg not to acknowledge his amazing bravery and skill. He was the bigger of the two in my opinion.
Lindberg was the most amazingly complicated character and possibly the subject of the greatest biography I have ever read - A. Scott Berg's bio.

He had very dodgy beliefs in the area of eugencs, and almost all of his children were estranged from him at his death. That is, his stated children. He is rumoured to have planted his seed plentifully among indigenous women in the course of his research voyages.

He was a fantastically flawed individual and I cannot recommend the biography enough. It's by no means a hatchet job. One line is among the best I've ever read: I don't have immediate access to the book, but it is at the end of the section where he has expended every energy to find out what happened to his kidnapped child, who had taken him, and ensuring that a conviction was obtained. His biographer records that his wife watched him sit down after all of his frenetic activity and realising for the first time that Lindbergh had never shed a tear throughout the whole ordeal.

The book is the one I'd bring to that desert island if I had the choice of only one.

I cannot recommend the thing strongly enough.
 

Accidental sock

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Lindberg was the most amazingly complicated character and possibly the subject of the greatest biography I have ever read - A. Scott Berg's bio.

He had very dodgy beliefs in the area of eugencs, and almost all of his children were estranged from him at his death. That is, his stated children. He is rumoured to have planted his seed plentifully among indigenous women in the course of his research voyages.

He was a fantastically flawed individual and I cannot recommend the biography enough. It's by no means a hatchet job. One line is among the best I've ever read: I don't have immediate access to the book, but it is at the end of the section where he has expended every energy to find out what happened to his kidnapped child, who had taken him, and ensuring that a conviction was obtained. His biographer records that his wife watched him sit down after all of his frenetic activity and realising for the first time that Lindbergh had never shed a tear throughout the whole ordeal.

The book is the one I'd bring to that desert island if I had the choice of only one.

I cannot recommend the thing strongly enough.
Only ever really delved into his life, in the sense I've watched a few kidnapping whodunnit documentaries, and read 'One Summer' by Bill Bryson..

I'm now going to seek out the book you've recommended.

You have suceeded where many teachers failed decades ago. Kudos!

If this continues, I may yet forgive you your ponytail.
 
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Only ever really delved into his life, in the sense I've watched a few kidnapping whodunnit documentaries, and read 'One Summer' by Bill Bryson..

I'm now going to seek out the book you've recommended.

You have suceeded where many teachers failed decades ago. Kudos!

If this continues, I may yet forgive you your ponytail.
Ponytail? I'm a long way from that!

Here's a serious offer: buy the book. If you don't like it, put it on e-Bay or some such, link it in here, and I'll buy it at list price and pay for P&P as well.

Deadly serious.
 

wombat

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Flying was the glamour occupation in those times. When I was a kid, we had astronauts to read about. Somehow, making billions from a phone app doesn't quite have the same ring to it.:lol:
 

Accidental sock

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Ponytail? I'm a long way from that!

Here's a serious offer: buy the book. If you don't like it, put it on e-Bay or some such, link it in here, and I'll buy it at list price and pay for P&P as well.

Deadly serious.
Generous...but I've never sold a book...or thrown one out....it's a thing we have...

There have been times I've gone back to a book I initially thought was poorly written.. only to discover it was ill concieved too. :)
 

Roberto Jordan

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This is not the only piece of trans-Atlantic aviation history associated with Baldonnel
And speaking of flight pioneers with flawed characters Fitzmaurice is right up there. The perfect illustration of the insecure "affected" ( in my grand aunts phraseology) Irish man.

The irish defense forces are a truely interesting institution with traditions of membership amongst groups that are contradictory and outright opposites.

Fitzmaurice definitely a poster boy for the existence of a counter-revolution though.
 

Roberto Jordan

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Le.

I cannot recommend the thing strongly enough.
Wow High praise indeed given the relatively obscure subject matter. Will check it out.

Would anyone agree that Lindbergh was one of the last individual heros of american isolationism and exceptionalism ( fitting given his views on going to war with Germany in '41)?

I have mentioned it already but he flew a decade after Alcock & Brown so only very blinkered or specious categorization could afford the hero worship he was subject.
the US continues to be a somewhat insular place relative to europe, undestanably given its vast vast scale.
However ,aside from lack of empathy or equivalence in regard to acts of war carried out overseas by themselves or others relative to domestic violence/ attacks, in general there is now here a recognition of external achievement and ranking of the US in arts, sports, business is done with this is mind.

Lindbergh's deification however seems to have been an echo of the days when a clipper ship was the fastest source of news from the "civilized" world
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Wow High praise indeed given the relatively obscure subject matter. Will check it out.

Would anyone agree that Lindbergh was one of the last individual heros of american isolationism and exceptionalism ( fitting given his views on going to war with Germany in '41)?

I have mentioned it already but he flew a decade after Alcock & Brown so only very blinkered or specious categorization could afford the hero worship he was subject.
the US continues to be a somewhat insular place relative to europe, undestanably given its vast vast scale.
However ,aside from lack of empathy or equivalence in regard to acts of war carried out overseas by themselves or others relative to domestic violence/ attacks, in general there is now here a recognition of external achievement and ranking of the US in arts, sports, business is done with this is mind.

Lindbergh's deification however seems to have been an echo of the days when a clipper ship was the fastest source of news from the "civilized" world
For sure Lindbergh was an odd character and thankfully his political and racial opinions were taken less seriously than his aviational expertise. However you are not doing justice to his achievements...his 1927 NY Paris flight was over a far longer distance(and solo) than Alcock and Brown's.....3600 miles versus 1890 miles. It set a world record for distance and the significance of taking off and landing at two world cities rather than crash landing in a bog(I really mean no disrespect to A&B) was that it demonstrated the possibility of 'safe' long distance air travel. Probably just as significant but less recognised was his pioneering work in the professionalisation of aviation, he was an early advocate for the systematic use of checklists and rigorous procedures. He helped aviation to transition from its earlier reckless barnstorming phase into the professionalism of today's industry.

Corrigan, flying transatlantic 11 years later on an unauthorised flight with a leaking fuel tank belongs to the older tradition.
 

cozzy121

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Lindberg was the most amazingly complicated character and possibly the subject of the greatest biography I have ever read - A. Scott Berg's bio.

He had very dodgy beliefs in the area of eugencs, and almost all of his children were estranged from him at his death. That is, his stated children. He is rumoured to have planted his seed plentifully among indigenous women in the course of his research voyages.

He was a fantastically flawed individual and I cannot recommend the biography enough. It's by no means a hatchet job. One line is among the best I've ever read: I don't have immediate access to the book, but it is at the end of the section where he has expended every energy to find out what happened to his kidnapped child, who had taken him, and ensuring that a conviction was obtained. His biographer records that his wife watched him sit down after all of his frenetic activity and realising for the first time that Lindbergh had never shed a tear throughout the whole ordeal.

The book is the one I'd bring to that desert island if I had the choice of only one.

I cannot recommend the thing strongly enough.
Did it mention his (unsanctioned) flying of combat missions against the japanese in WW11? He was advising the Marines on how to get the best out of the radically designed Vought F4U Corsair Fighter -Bomber.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vought_F4U_Corsair#Fighter-bomber
 
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Did it mention his (unsanctioned) flying of combat missions against the japanese in WW11? He was advising the Marines on how to get the best out of the radically designed Vought F4U Corsair Fighter -Bomber.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vought_F4U_Corsair#Fighter-bomber
It mentioned that as well as the fact that he seriously helped increase their operating range.

It's a warts and all book. Lots of good stuff about him and lots of bad stuff; it's up to the reader to judge.

He was certainly an intriguing character.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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Let's not miss a chance to involve Dev!

I have here an .epub of A Scott Berg's Lindbergh (open up a channel big enough for a 10.2 MB file and can share).

It occurs to me, from that source, Lindbergh may have had a very pragmatic reason for ignoring Corrigan.

On 9th July 1933 Lindbergh and his wife Anne Murrow left New York in his adapted Lockheed Sirius, Tingmissartoq (now in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)



This wasn't going to any quixotic attempt to redo the transAtlantic flight. It was a straightforward commercial operation:
The air routes of the world were “entering their final stage of development,” Lindbergh noted. “The countries had already been crossed and the continents connected. It remained only for the oceans to be spanned. Their great over-water distances constituted the last major barrier to the commerce of the air.” Thus, this trip’s official purpose was to survey potential transatlantic air routes and bases between North America and Europe. There were three alternatives—the Greenland-Iceland route in the north, the Newfoundland-Ireland route in the center, and the Bermuda-Azores route in the south. The northern route was most “tantalizing” to Lindbergh, for it offered the greatest safety net of land below, never more than seven hundred miles over water.
Although Berg baldly states the Lindberghs financed the flight themselves, he also quotes the New York Times:
Furthermore, they have set no time for their return. While the flight is being undertaken as a survey of what may some day be used as an air route to Europe for Pan-American Airways … the couple proposes to enjoy the trip without the worry of keeping to schedules.
Lindbergh's two radios, one of which was waterproof and fitted into a rubber sailboat were also provided by Pan-Am.

Twenty-four days were given to exploring possible shore bases in Greenland: Godthaab, Holsteinsborg, Ella Island, Eskimonaes, Angmagssalik, and Julianehaab. There was even a false report he had crashed and been killed.

On 15th August he flew to Reykjavik, where a British flyer flying the opposite direction, John Grierson, rescued him from rough water and towed him into harbour. A week in and around Iceland, and Lindbergh hopped on to the Faroes and Shetland. Then to Sweden, to visit the "ancestral home". Over two months, the Lindberghs capered around Europe — including a trip to Ireland — always looking for that transAtlantic aerial "gateway".

In November 1936 he was back in Ireland (we are now twenty months or so before Corrigan dropped in). He was now on his own (Anne was again pregnant), flying his Miles M12 Mohawk (there's a similar machine at the Hendon Museum). He meant to stay three days, but our local weather (fog) extended it to ten. Here's Berg:
In November 1936, he flew alone to Ireland to inspect a landing field for Pan American. What was meant to be a three-day trip stretched to ten, as a stubborn fog created the longest delay Lindbergh had ever faced on account of weather. He made the most of his time in the home of his forefathers, the Lodges and Kissanes. “It has always had a strange attraction for me,” Charles wrote his mother of Ireland. “Possibly because I shall never forget the first sight of the hills of Kerry from the Spirit of St. Louis; possibly because a love of the old country is passed on even to the distant descendants of all Irishmen.”

Lindbergh gave Eamon de Valera, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, his first airplane ride; and the thrilled passenger invited Lindbergh to a dinner he was giving for U. S. Postmaster General Farley. En route to the dinner, Lindbergh thought it might amuse his host, the Minister of Defence, to know that he and Farley had been on opposite sides of the recent airmail controversy. “Oh! Don’t let that worry you,” he replied in his lilting brogue. “The leader of the opposition will be present tonight. He executed seventy-nine of us a few years ago. We haven’t forgotten it, but we don’t bring politics into affairs for people from other countries.”
 

Catalpast

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18 July 1938: Douglas Corrigan - ‘Wrong way Corrigan’ - landed at Baldonnel Aerodrome Co Dublin after flying across the Atlantic solo in his aircraft Sunshine on this day. His arrival was totally unexpected and on being asked from whence he came he answered ‘New York’ - much the incredulity of those who had gathered around him.

Despite his assertion that he had simply lost his way on take off and instead of turning west for California he had inadvertently headed east for Ireland no one really believed him. He had started his working life as a mechanic and had caught the Flying Bug when he took a ride up in a plane some years previously. He got his pilots license & took up stunt flying to earn a living. But he always hankered to do something out of the ordinary and settled on Ireland (the Homeland of his ancestors) as a place he would like to fly to.


He saved up his salary and spent $300 on buying a second hand 1929 Curtiss Robin OX-5 monoplane and flew it home, where he returned to work as an aircraft mechanic and began to modify the Robin for a transatlantic flight. Having installed an engine built from two old Wright Whirlwind J6-5 engines (affording 165 hp (123 kW) instead of the 90 hp (67 kW) of the original) and extra fuel tanks, Corrigan applied to the Bureau of Air Commerce in 1935, seeking permission to make a nonstop flight from New York to Ireland. The application was rejected; his plane was deemed unsound for a nonstop transatlantic trip, although it was certified to the lower standard for cross-country journeys.


But Corrigan was nothing if not a tryer and on 17 July 1938 he took off at 5:15 in the morning with 320 US gallons (1,200 L) of gasoline and 16 US gallons (61 L) of oil on board. Corrigan headed east from the 4,200-foot (1,300 m) runway of Floyd Bennet Field New York to begin his epic journey.


He landed at Baldonnel Aerodrome on July 18, after a 28-hour, 13-minute flight. His provisions had been just two chocolate bars & two boxes of fig bars, and 25 US gal (94.64 L) of water.


Corrigan's plane had fuel tanks mounted on the front, allowing him to see only out of the sides. He had no radio and his compass was 20 years old, but somehow he made it. His daring flight alone across the Atlantic Ocean made headlines across the World. Back in the USA he was nicknamed ‘Wrong Way Corrigan’ when he claimed to have flown East instead of West on take off. It was said that his tickertape parade through the streets of New York City outshone that of his great hero Charles Lindbergh - who curiously never acknowledged his achievement.


The journalist H.R. Knickerbocker who met Corrigan in Ireland after his arrival, wrote in 1941:


You may say that Corrigan's flight could not be compared to Lindbergh's in its sensational appeal as the first solo flight across the ocean. Yes, but in another way the obscure little Irishman's flight was the more audacious of the two. Lindbergh had a plane specially constructed, the finest money could buy. He had lavish financial backing, friends to help him at every turn. Corrigan had nothing but his own ambition, courage, and ability. His plane, a nine-year-old Curtiss Robin was the most wretched-looking jalopy.


As I looked over it at the Dublin airdrome I really marveled that anyone should have been rash enough even to go in the air with it, much less try to fly the Atlantic. He built it, or rebuilt it, practically as a boy would build a scooter out of a soapbox and a pair of old roller skates. It looked it. The nose of the engine hood was a mass of patches soldered by Corrigan himself into a crazy-quilt design. The door behind which Corrigan crouched for twentyeight hours was fastened together with a piece of baling wire. The reserve gasoline tanks put together by Corrigan, left him so little room that he had to sit hunched forward with his knees cramped, and not enough window space to see the ground when landing.


The following year, he starred as himself in The Flying Irishman, a movie biography. The $75,000 he earned was the equivalent of 30 years income at his airfield jobs. During the War he flew planes for the US Transport Command and then went back to California where he bought an Orange Farm. He died there in 1995. To the end he never admitted to anything other than flying ‘the wrong way’.
Give this one a boost as its 80 years ago today....:cool:
 

blinding

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Alcock and Brown’s Plane is in the Science Museum in London along with many other planes for anybody interested .
 

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