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YouTube // British Pathé

Douglas Corrigan 'Accidentally' Flew to Ireland Today in 1938

YouTube // British Pathé
YouTube // British Pathé

American aviator Douglas Corrigan earned the nickname "Wrong Way" on July 17, 1938, when he filed a flight plan from Brooklyn to Long Beach, California...but ended up in Ireland.

"Wrong Way" Corrigan eventually returned to the U.S., went in front of news cameras and admitted his "mistake" while grinning broadly. But of course, he knew what he was doing all along—and his flight was a daring feat. Corrigan had modified his plane for the intercontinental flight, using knowledge he picked up while helping build Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St Louis a decade earlier. Corrigan had been denied permission once before to fly from New York to Ireland, so his "mistake" was a clever (albeit dangerous and illegal) way to make the journey.

Corrigan made the flight in a plane he called Sunshine. The plane had a leaking gas tank, no radio, and no parachute. He carried "a couple boxes of fig bar cookies" and some gum for sustenance. The flight lasted 28 hours. After his arrival near Dublin, his pilot's license was suspended...but only for a few weeks.

Upon Corrigan's return to the States, the New York Post printed a giant headline backwards, declaring: "HAIL WRONG WAY CORRIGAN." A more legible right-way subhead read: "MILLION CHEER MADLY IN WELCOME TO FLYER." Corrigan became a minor American hero, endorsing "Wrong Way" products, writing a memoir, and starring as himself in the movie The Flying Irishman. Here's Corrigan the year after his famous flight, arriving in Newark to cheering crowds:

Corrigan appeared on TV's To Tell the Truth 19 years after his flight. In the clip below, he shows up around the 16:50 mark.

Douglas Corrigan lived in California until his death in 1995. All hail Wrong Way Corrigan!

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Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
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This Just In
Flights Grounded After World War II Bomb Discovered Near London City Airport
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

London City Airport grounded all flights on the night of February 11, after a World War II bomb was found in the neighboring River Thames, The Guardian reports.

The half-ton bomb was revealed Sunday morning by development work taking place at the King George V Dock. Following its discovery, police set up a 702-foot exclusion zone around the area, closing local roads and shutting down the London City Airport until further notice. According to the BBC, 261 trips were scheduled to fly in and out of London City Airport on Monday. Some flights are being rerouted to nearby airports, while others have been canceled altogether.

The airport will reopen as soon as the explosive device has been safely removed. For that to happen, the Met police must first wait for the river's tide to recede. Then, once the bomb is exposed, they can dislodge it from the riverbed and tow it to a controlled explosion site.

The docks of London’s East End were some of the most heavily bombed points in the city during World War II. Germany’s Blitz lasted 76 nights, and as the latest unexpected discovery shows, bombs that never detonated are still being cleaned up from parks and rivers more than 75 years later.

[h/t The Guardian]

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History
Why Amelia Earhart Is Remembered as One of History's Most Famous Female Pilots
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Amelia Earhart was a legend even before she mysteriously disappeared in 1937 while flying around the world. But the aviator's fame wasn't entirely based on skill alone. As Vox explains, Earhart's reputation eclipsed that of several contemporaries who were equally—if not more—talented than “Lady Lindy." So why did Earhart's name go down in history books instead of theirs?

In addition to her talent and courage, Earhart’s international fame could be chalked up to ceaseless self-promotion and a strategic marriage. It all started in 1928, when socialite Amy Phipps Guest and publishing juggernaut George Putnam handpicked the then-amateur pilot to become the first woman to be flown in a plane across the Atlantic Ocean. Earhart wasn't involved with the actual flight process, but the trip still established her as the new female face of aviation (and introduced her to Putnam, her future husband).

After completing the transatlantic journey, Earhart’s profile rose sky-high as she gave public lectures, wrote an aviation column for Cosmopolitan magazine, performed stunts like flying solo across the Atlantic (a feat that was first achieved by Charles Lindbergh in 1927), and endorsed everything from cigarettes to designer luggage. Her celebrity was ultimately cemented with her marriage to Putnam, who orchestrated savvy promotional opportunities to keep his wife’s name in the paper.

Learn more about Earhart’s rise to fame by watching Vox’s video below.

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