An Irish band calling itself the Corrigan Brothers is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Douglas “Wrongway” Corrigan’s flight from Floyd Bennett Field, New York, to Baldonnel Aerodrome in Ireland on July 18, 1938 with the following song or music video:
In case you don’t know the story of Douglas “Wrongway” Corrigan, he learned to fly in the mid-1920s and later worked in an aircraft factory where he was actually responsible for the wing assembly and the installation of the gas tanks and instrument panel on Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St Louis. In fact, he and a colleague increased the lift of the Spirit of St Louis by extending the wing 10 feet (3.0 meters) longer and he pulled the chocks from the aircraft when Lindbergh took off from San Diego to New York to prepare for his historic flight.
Corrigan also wanted to fly across the Atlantic and in 1935, he sought permission from the Bureau of Air Commerce for a non-stop flight from New York and Ireland. His application was rejected and over the next two years, he made repeated modifications to his aircraft and reapplications which were all rejected.
Increasingly exasperated by government red tape and increasing aircraft regulations, its believed Corrigan decided to make an unofficial crossing. In 1938, he filed a flight plan to fly from New York to Long Beach, but instead ended up in Ireland.
Corrigan claimed his unauthorized transatlantic flight was due to a navigational error caused by heavy cloud cover which obscured landmarks along with low-light conditions that caused him to misread his compass. It took a 600 word telegram by aviation officials to list all of the regulations broken, but he received only a 14-day suspension of his pilot certificate along with a couple of ticker tape parades when he returned to the States. He later bought an orange grove in Southern California where he quietly passed away in 1995 – never admitting whether his flight to Ireland was deliberate or not.
As for the Corrigan Brothers, General Aviation News quoted one as saying:
We are hoping to perform the song in the very spot Douglas landed on July 18, 2013, provided we have clearance from air traffic control. We will log our song plan and will not deviate from its course, unlike good old Douglas.
The Corrigan Brothers are also recording their second album (“Our Favourite Irish Songs”), will begin a world tour in October and are researching their family tree in the hopes of finding a link to “Wrongway” Corrigan.