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Girls in Aviation: A look at Jerrie Mock’s lasting legacy

Jerrie Mock statue in the CMH airport terminal building

On March 19, 1964, Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock set out on her record-breaking solo flight around the world.

Jerrie Mock’s first flight was when she was just five years old. Although that Ford Trimotor was only in the air for 15 minutes, she fell in love with aviation. She studied aeronautical engineering at The Ohio State University, and in 1945 married her husband, Russell, and began a family. Then, in the late 50s, she was at it again when she began flying lessons and earned her private pilot certificate. Once she made the plan to fly around the world, she quietly picked up flight hours so as to not spark interest and competition from more experienced female pilots.

Jerrie Mock's flight path was on display in the Starbucks in Concourse B at John Glenn Columbus International Airport for several years.
Jerrie Mock’s flight path was on display in the Starbucks in Concourse B at John Glenn Columbus International Airport for several years.

Ready to take on the world, her 29-day trip started and ended here at CMH. The single-engine Cessna 180 Skywagon got her across the world with 21 stopovers and over 23,000 miles. Mock set out on her journey on March 19, 1964. On April 17, 1964, almost a month later, she landed back in Columbus to the fanfare of her husband, children, Governor James A. Rhodes, and the community. The following day, April 18, was declared “Jerrie Mock Day,” and on May 4, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented her with the Federal Aviation Agency’s “Decoration for Exceptional Service.”

Her trip was not without hardship, however. She experienced bad weather, brake failure and radio transmission problems. She chronicled the experience in her book, “Three-Eight Charlie,” a reference to the callsign of her Cessna, N1538C.

Mock passed away in 2014, just a few months after the 50th anniversary of her historic feat. A life-size bronze statue, which was dedicated on April 18, 2014, sits on display in the Legacy of Leadership gallery on the ticketing level of John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

“I did it to give confidence to the little pilot, who is being left in the Jetstream of the space age.” – Jerrie Mock

Jerrie’s Flight Path:

  • March 19, 1964: Columbus, Ohio (CMH) – Hamilton, Bermuda (1,141.63 miles)
  • March 26, 1964: Hamilton, Bermuda – Santa Maria, Azores (2,264.62 miles)
  • March 28, 1964: Santa Maria, Azores – Casablanca, Morocco (1,015.02 miles)
  • March 30, 1964: Casablanca, Morocco – Bone, Algeria (902.70 miles)
  • March 31, 1964: Bone, Algeria – Tripoli, Libya (418.13 miles)
  • April 1-2, 1964: Tripoli, Libya – Inshas, Egypt – Cairo, Egypt (1090.21 miles)
  • April 3, 1964: Cairo, Egypt – Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (1,173.37 miles)
  • April 4, 1964: Dhahran, Saudi Arabia – Karachi, Pakistan (1,063.33 miles)
  • April 5, 1964: Karachi, Pakistan – Delhi, India (655.54 miles)
  • April 6, 1964: Delhi, India – Kolkata, West Bengal, India (817.37 miles)
  • April 7, 1964: Kolkata, West Bengal, India – Bangkok, Thailand (999.56 miles)
  • April 8, 1964: Bangkok, Thailand – Manila, Philippines (1365.79 miles)
  • April 11, 1964: Manila, Philippines – Guam (1597.7 miles)
  • April 12, 1964: Guam – Wake Island (1501.33 miles)
  • April 13-14, 1964: Wake Island – Honolulu, Hawaii (2300.45 miles)
  • April 15, 1964: Honolulu, Hawaii – Oakland, California (2409.60 miles)
  • April 16, 1964: Oakland, Califorina – Tuscon, Arizona (747 miles)
  • April 17, 1964: Tuscon, Arizona – El Paso, Texas – Bowling Green, Kentucky – Columbus, Ohio (CMH) (approximately 1,700 miles)

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