DUBLIN, July 18, 1938 (UP) -- Douglas Corrigan, a Los Angeles airplane mechanic with a secret ambition to fly across the Atlantic, did it today-alone, in a 1929 monoplane that had cost him only $900.
He did it-about 2,800 miles from New York to Ireland-in 28 hours and 13 minutes-as casually as the ordinary person would motor a hundred miles or so in an old flivver.
He had no navigating instruments, no radio, no safety equipment, no permission from the United States government, and his motor would develop only 175 horsepower.
But he did have that old ship and motor on which he had lavished hours of attention. He had 320 gallons of gasoline that cost him just about all the money he had. He had a couple of chocolate bars.
It was 5:17 A.M. New York time Sunday when he lifted the old crate off the ground in New York and, instead of turning west, pointed her straight northeastward and kept going.
Airport attendants in New York thought at first that they merely had lost him in the easterly haze and that he would make a wide turn to the west. As the hours passed and no word came, they began to suspect the truth-and to worry.
Then this afternoon the Royal British Air Force reported that a monoplane apparently marked with American registration numbers had flown over Newtonards, nine miles east of Belfast, Ireland, a little after 1 P.M. (8 A.M. New York time).
At 2:30 P.M. (9:30 A.M. New York time) he landed at Baldonnell Airdrome, just outside Dublin, climbed out of the cramped cabin of the old Curtiss Robin plane, and announced casually:--"I've just flown from New York."
The airport officials wouldn't believe it at first. But they soon checked his registration and were convinced that they had been the reception committee for perhaps the most amazing jaunt in the history of ocean flying.
Corrigan, however, wasn't interested in being a hero when he put his ship down at Baldonnel. Before he would talk about his exploit at all he insisted on personally checking over the plane that had brought him across.
He checked the gasoline tanks and found he landed with only thirty gallons left.
"I feel fine and am not a bit tired," he said.
Corrigan, who is 31 and has many hundreds of hours of flying maintained with a straight face that he had thought all the time that he was going west to Los Angeles. Perhaps he was worried about what the United States aviation authorities would do to him for making the unauthorized transatlantic trip.
"I left New York to return to Los Angeles, but by an unfortunate mistake I set my compass wrong, and when I got up above the clouds the visibility was very bad," he told the United Press.
"I flew a considerable distance and didn't know I was over the sea. When I had flown twenty-five hours, I thought I should be near my destination and came down through the clouds.
"I saw some fishing smacks which did not appear familiar. I cruised around a while, thinking I was near California but the landscape appeared entirely different.
"I flew inland and discovered what I thought must be Ireland. Then I flew in an eastern direction about fifty miles and saw what I believed was Baldonnel Airdrome. I turned the machine down and landed, and the officials informed me I was in Ireland.
"I had only thirty gallons of gas left.
"On the way I had only some chocolate bars and half a gallon of water. I didn't have anything else at all to eat.
"I don't feel very tired, but I sure was surprised when I found myself off the coast of Ireland."
Mechanics at the airport helped Corrigan check the plane and said it was in perfect condition.
United States Minister John Cudahy drove out to the airport as soon as he heard of Corrigan's unheralded arrival.
The Minister drove Corrigan into Dublin at 5 P.M.