R.I.P. Jerrie Mock, Phi Mu, the First Woman to Circumnavigate the World Alone

Geraldine “Jerrie” Fredritz Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world, died on September 30, 2014 at the age of  88. Mock, an initiate of the Phi Mu chapter at The Ohio State University, “shared her stories, always modestly, with Phi Mu so we could celebrate her accomplishments,” according to a post on Phi Mu’s Facebook page.

She took her first plane ride at age seven, in a Ford Trimotor airplane. In 1958, she earned a private pilot’s license. Her flight around the world began on March 19, 1964. She left from Columbus, Ohio and returned on April 17, 1964. She called the single engine Cessna 180, “Charlie,” although its official name was the “Spirit of Columbus.” 


The 22, 860 mile trek took 29 days and it had 21 stopovers. And it was not without its challenges. Shortly after take-off she realized her long-range radio was not working properly. And then she realized the brakes were a little off, too. She was able to get both problems fixed along the way.

mrs mockAmong her stops was one in Saudi Arabia where the men who greeted her kept waiting for a male pilot to emerge from the plane. They were a little shocked when they realized that she was the pilot.

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Mock set many records and was the recipient of numerous awards. There are two life size statues of her Ohio. Both are the works of Renate Burgyan Fackler. The first was unveiled in Mock’s hometown of Newark, Ohio. It is in the courtyard of The Works Museum. On April 17, 2014, another statue was unveiled at the Port Columbus International Airport. Mock’s plane, “Spirit of Columbus,” is in the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum in Virginia. 


 (c) Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/


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