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First woman to circumnavigate globe returns home

Boredom. It comes and goes as often as the wind and can only be conquered by something astounding, like flying around the world.

On this day in history, Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock became the first woman to circumnavigate the world in an airplane.

Mock was a the manager of the Columbus Airport in Ohio and the mother of three children. One day she complained to her husband that nothing interested her and she wanted to fly somewhere. His joking reply “Why don’t you fly around the world?” inspired her to attempt to become the first woman to fly around the world.

Before starting her quest, Mock had clocked in with 500 hours worth of flying time, but needed to qualifty for an Instrument Rating that would enable her to fly in all weather conditions. After obtaining her permit, she had 750 hours worth of flight experience.

She left Columbus on March 19, 1964 in a 1953 Cessna 180, christened as “The Spirit of Columbus.” Another woman, Joan Smith,  was also attempting to fly around the world and Mock’s husband urged her to fly faster even though the two women weren’t in competition with one another.

While Mock did not have a disastrous end to her flight like Amelia Earhart did, she did encounter strong winds, icing, and brake problems. She also accidentally landed in a secret military base in Inshaas, where she was interrogated for two hours before being released to continue to Cairo.

After 22,858 miles and 30 days, Mock landed in Oakland, California and was greeted by her husband, journalists, television cameras and a crowd of adoring fans. She was awarded the Gold Medal of the Federal Aviation Administration by President Lyndon B. Johnson and was accredited with setting two official records with the FAI (Federation Aeronatique Internationale) and five unofficial records.

On April 17, the tax deadline for filing income tax passed, Soulfly was presented at the Blue Note and Open Mic night was held at the Bridge. But 48 years ago and 2,171 miles away, the first woman to fly around the world returned home.

By Jessica Jost 

One Response to First woman to circumnavigate globe returns home

  1. Susan Fredritz Reid Reply

    May 21, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Jessica,

    I’m impressed with your writing, and I thank you for your article about my sister, Jerrie Mock. Did you know that there is a fundraising campaign to raise money to build a life-size bronze statue of Jerrie in be placed in a local museum in her home town of Newark, Ohio? We have already raised nearly $30,000 of the $45,000 needed. Contributions should be make to: The Licking County Foundation, P.O. Box 4212, Newark, Ohio 43058-4212. Gifts are tax deductible. Jerrie is 86 years old and lives in Quincy, Florida. For more information, call the Foundation at 740-349-3863.

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