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Jerrie Mock Goes West

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Old October 7th 14, 08:55 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Larry Dighera
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Default Jerrie Mock Goes West


Jerrie Mock Goes West

Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock, the Ohio aeronautical engineer, adventurer, pilot and
media-described housewife who became the first female pilot to fly solo around
the world, died Tuesday. Mock was at her home in Quincy, Florida, and died in
her sleep. An experienced pilot, she completed the record-setting solo flight
on April 17, 1964, in her single-engine Cessna 180, which she named the "Spirit
of Columbus," after her hometown. Following the flight, Cessna gave her another
180 in return for her airplane, which is displayed at the Smithsonian
Udvar-Hazy museum. During the celebration of the 50th anniversary of her
flight, a life-sized statute depicting her holding a globe was placed at the
Port Columbus, Ohio, Airport, from which she began and ended her historic

Treated somewhat condescendingly by the media, Mock nevertheless made waves
with her accomplishment—on landing in Saudi Arabia, she got out of the airplane
in front of a large silent crowd that waited expectantly for the "pilot" to
emerge. When they realized she was the pilot, the crowd erupted in cheers.
Without an advance team to visit the planned stops ahead of time and operating
on a limited budget, Mock dealt with massive bureaucratic red tape, sometimes
taking hours to simply get fuel, plus foul weather and various mechanical
problems with the airplane. In interviews after the flight, Mock said, "Nobody
was going to tell me I couldn't do it because I was a woman." As an engineer,
she often explained the details of the various modifications made to the
airplane to carry enough fuel for the trip (leaving very little room for her in
the cabin) and simply how an airplane worked, once getting exasperated with a
questioner. "Airplanes are meant to fly. I was completely confident in my
plane," she said. Mock's obituary
states that she did not want a funeral service and reports that her desire for
her body to be cremated and her ashes scattered from an airplane flying over
the Gulf of Mexico will be honored.

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