Jerrie Mock didn’t set out to defy gender norms of the post-World War II generation, but she did when she became the first woman to fly solo around the world. Her aviation destiny all started with a simple conversation with her husband.
“If I don’t get out of this house, I’ll go nuts,” she told him.
“Why don’t just get in your plane and fly around the world?” her husband replied.
“All right,” she said. “I will.”
She did just that. Not only was her proclamation quite grand, her enviable determination is even more admirable. It only took her two years training before she received her pilot’s license in 1958 and she shattered the glass ceiling in 1964.
Leaving Columbus, Ohio aboard her single-engine Cessna 180 with a 36-foot wingspan (which now hangs at National Air and Space Museum) on April 17, 1964, she returned to Columbus after 29 days and 23,000 miles. Dubbed the “Flying Houswive,” Mock was awarded a gold medal by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Mock passed away earlier this month at the age of 88.