COLUMBUS, Ohio – The history-making flight of a Newark woman is being celebrated in Columbus.
The Columbus Regional Airport Authority and The Columbus Foundation are commemorating the 50th anniversary of Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock’s solo flight around the globe. She was the first female pilot to accomplish that feat.
A bronze, life-sized statue (right) depicting Mock holding a globe was unveiled Thursday at Port Columbus, the airport where she landed her single-engine Cessna 180 on April 17, 1964. A local “Women in Aviation” pilot was scheduled to land a plane similar to Mock’s “Spirit of Columbus” later Thursday.
Mock is now 88 and couldn’t make it to Ohio from her Florida home for the event.
The Newark, Ohio, native was honored at the White House in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
The “Spirit of Columbus,” (above) custom-fitted with giant fuel tanks, lifted off from Port Columbus on March 19 with Mock, a 38-year-old mother of three, at the controls. One newspaper described her as “a green-eyed Ohio housewife in open-toed shoes.”
She completed her circumnavigation in 29 days with 21 stops, including the Azores, Libya, Pakistan, and the Philippines. She was greeted by a new king in Saudi Arabia, where a coup had just taken place. Her route included hazardous a 1,334-mile crossing of the Pacific with no guidance beacons and a balky compass.
“Spirit of Columbus” photo courtesy Ohio Historical Society from the Spirit of Columbus Collection.