July/August 1988 | Volume 39, Issue 5
Fifty Years Ago
The millionaire industrialist Howard Hughes set a record for flying around the world when his twin-engine Lockheed 14 plane, New York World’s Fair 1939, returned to New York’s Floyd Bennett Field on July 14. Hughes and his four-man crew made hurried pit stops in Paris, Moscow, Siberia, Fairbanks, and Minneapolis to complete their global circuit in three days, nineteen hours, and seventeen minutes, cutting Wiley Post’s 1933 record in half.
Three days after Hughes’s flight, Douglas Corrigan unobtrusively took off from the same airfield. His destination: Los Angeles. Twenty-eight hours later Corrigan’s 165-horsepower single-engine Curtiss Robin touched down—in Dublin, Ireland. “Wrong-Way” Corrigan, as he was soon dubbed, had apparently misread his compass and flown east, crossing the Atlantic in twenty-eight hours, with a leaky fuel tank to boot. Aviation authorities had repeatedly denied Corrigan a permit to fly across the Atlantic. Whether the flight was an honest mistake or a clever ploy is still up in the air.