Wrong Way Corrigan Day – July 17: About, Celebrate & Quotes

On July 17th, the United States commemorates Wrong Way Corrigan Day, a unique and memorable event in aviation history. This day is dedicated to honoring the audacious flight of Douglas Corrigan, also known as “Wrong Way” Corrigan, who defied regulations and embarked on a journey that captured the imagination of people around the world. In this article, we delve into the story of Wrong Way Corrigan, his infamous flight, and the legacy he left behind.

Who was Wrong Way Corrigan?

Douglas Corrigan, born on January 22, 1907, in Galveston, Texas, was an American aviator. He developed a passion for flying from an early age and became a skilled pilot. Corrigan gained fame for his eccentric personality and daring feats in aviation. He earned the nickname “Wrong Way” after his audacious flight from the United States to Ireland in 1938, despite intending to fly to California.

The Infamous Flight

On July 17, 1938, Wrong Way Corrigan took off from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York, aboard a modified Curtiss Robin aircraft named “Sunshine.” Claiming he was heading back to California, Corrigan managed to fly from New York to Ireland instead. This unexpected deviation puzzled aviation authorities, leading to widespread speculation about his true intentions. Despite his claims of navigational errors, many believed Corrigan deliberately flew to Ireland, seeking to emulate his idol, Charles Lindbergh.

The Flight’s Aftermath

Upon landing in Ireland, Wrong Way Corrigan was greeted with astonishment and disbelief. His unauthorized transatlantic flight earned him instant notoriety and a hero’s welcome. The aviation authorities were less enthusiastic and promptly suspended his pilot’s license, citing his reckless actions. Corrigan returned to the United States by ship and received a ticker tape parade in New York City upon his arrival.

Wrong Way Corrigan’s Legacy

Although his piloting career was marred by the transatlantic flight, Wrong Way Corrigan’s name became synonymous with adventure and audacity. He capitalized on his newfound fame, making public appearances and even participating in air shows. Corrigan eventually regained his pilot’s license and continued to fly throughout his life. His story captivated the public’s imagination and highlighted the adventurous spirit that characterized the early days of aviation.

Celebrating Wrong Way Corrigan Day

Every year on July 17th, aviation enthusiasts and history buffs celebrate Wrong Way Corrigan Day. This day provides an opportunity to reflect on Corrigan’s incredible journey and the courage it took to defy conventional wisdom. Aviation museums, historical societies, and aviation-themed events often organize exhibitions and activities to honor Corrigan’s legacy. It’s a day to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit and the relentless pursuit of dreams.

10 Fun Facts About Douglas Corrigan

  • Wrong Way Corrigan: Douglas Corrigan earned the nickname “Wrong Way” after his famous flight from New York to Ireland in 1938. Despite filing a flight plan to California, he ended up in Ireland, claiming it was a navigational error.
  • Modified Aircraft: Corrigan’s aircraft for the transatlantic flight was a modified Curtiss Robin monoplane named “Sunshine.” He made several adjustments to the plane, including adding extra fuel tanks to increase its range.
  • Rejection of Flight Permission: Corrigan initially applied for permission to make a transatlantic flight but was denied by aviation authorities due to concerns about the aircraft’s airworthiness. However, he managed to fly anyway, defying regulations.
  • Record-Breaking Flight: Corrigan’s unauthorized flight covered approximately 3,150 miles (5,070 kilometers) and lasted for 28 hours and 13 minutes. He flew at relatively low altitudes, navigating using a compass and following the stars.
  • Fame and Notoriety: Wrong Way Corrigan’s flight captured international attention and made headlines around the world. He became an overnight sensation, earning both praise and criticism for his audacity.
  • Suspension and Restoration of License: After his transatlantic flight, Corrigan had his pilot’s license suspended by aviation authorities. However, he eventually had it restored and continued to fly throughout his life.
  • Ticker-Tape Parade: Upon his return to the United States, Corrigan received a hero’s welcome with a ticker-tape parade in New York City. Thousands of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the aviator.
  • Publicity Stunts: Following his famous flight, Corrigan capitalized on his newfound fame. He participated in air shows, made public appearances, and even starred in a Hollywood film titled “The Flying Irishman” based on his life story.
  • Aviation Career: Despite the notoriety surrounding his transatlantic flight, Corrigan had a long aviation career. He continued to fly and worked as a test pilot for several aircraft companies.
  • Legacy: Wrong Way Corrigan’s flight left a lasting legacy in aviation history. His daring adventure and determination continue to inspire aviation enthusiasts and serve as a reminder of the adventurous spirit of early aviators.

Wrong Way Corrigan Day Dates

2023July 17Monday
2024July 17Wednesday
2025July 17Thursday
2026July 17Friday
2027July 17Saturday

Wrong Way Corrigan Day Quotes, Wishes & Messages 

“On Wrong Way Corrigan Day, let’s remember the audacious spirit of Douglas Corrigan and be inspired to chase our dreams fearlessly. Happy Wrong Way Corrigan Day!”

“Wishing you a day filled with the thrill of adventure and the courage to defy the odds, just like Wrong Way Corrigan. Happy Wrong Way Corrigan Day!”

“May Wrong Way Corrigan’s remarkable journey reminds us that sometimes the wrong path can lead to extraordinary destinations. Happy Wrong Way Corrigan Day!”

“Embrace the spirit of exploration and embark on your own daring adventure this Wrong Way Corrigan Day. Enjoy the thrill of the unexpected!”

“Let Wrong Way Corrigan’s flight be a reminder that it’s never too late to change course and chart a new path. Happy Wrong Way Corrigan Day!”

“Wishing you a day filled with the joy of taking risks and the satisfaction of defying limitations. Happy Wrong Way Corrigan Day!”

“As we celebrate Wrong Way Corrigan Day, let’s honor the courage it takes to fly against the wind and follow our own unique path. Happy Wrong Way Corrigan Day!”

“May Wrong Way Corrigan’s story inspires you to embrace the unknown and find adventure in unexpected places. Happy Wrong Way Corrigan Day!”

“On this Wrong Way Corrigan Day, let’s remember that even detours can lead to great discoveries. Embrace the journey!”

“As we commemorate Wrong Way Corrigan Day, let’s celebrate the indomitable spirit that pushes us to reach for the skies. Happy Wrong Way Corrigan Day!”


Wrong Way Corrigan Day on July 17th serves as a reminder of the power of determination and the enduring spirit of exploration. Douglas Corrigan’s audacious flight captured the world’s attention and left an indelible mark on aviation history. His story continues to inspire people to push the boundaries of what is possible and pursue their dreams fearlessly. Let us celebrate this remarkable day and remember the legacy of Wrong Way Corrigan.


Why did Douglas Corrigan fly to Ireland instead of California?

Douglas Corrigan claimed that his transatlantic flight to Ireland was the result of a navigational error. However, many believe he intentionally deviated from his flight plan to emulate Charles Lindbergh’s historic solo flight.

Did Douglas Corrigan face any consequences for his unauthorized flight?

Yes, Douglas Corrigan had his pilot’s license suspended upon his return to the United States. However, he eventually regained his license and continued flying.

How did the public react to Wrong Way Corrigan’s flight?

The public was captivated by Corrigan’s audacity and adventurous spirit. He received a hero’s welcome in Ireland and a ticker tape parade upon his return to the United States.

What is the significance of Wrong Way Corrigan Day?

Wrong Way Corrigan Day celebrates the courage and determination displayed by Douglas Corrigan during his transatlantic flight. It serves as a reminder to pursue dreams fearlessly and defy conventional wisdom.

How can aviation enthusiasts celebrate Wrong Way Corrigan Day?

Aviation enthusiasts can participate in aviation-themed events, visit aviation museums, or organize exhibitions and activities that honor Wrong Way Corrigan’s legacy. It’s a day to reflect on the adventurous spirit of early aviation.

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