Jerrie Mock
Jerrie Mock 1964c.jpg
Mock on April 17, 1964
Geraldine Lois Fredritz[1]

(1925-11-22)November 22, 1925
DiedSeptember 30, 2014(2014-09-30) (aged 88)
OccupationAviatrix, Writer
Spouse(s)Russell Mock
ChildrenValerie Armentrout, Gary Mock, Roger Mock

Geraldine "Jerrie" Fredritz Mock (November 22, 1925 – September 30, 2014) was an American pilot and the first woman to fly solo around the world.[2] She flew a single engine Cessna 180 (registered N1538C) christened the "Spirit of Columbus" and nicknamed "Charlie."[3][4] The trip began March 19, 1964, in Columbus, Ohio, and ended April 17, 1964, in Columbus, Ohio.[5] It took 29 days, 11 hours and 59 minutes,[2] with 21 stopovers and almost 22,860 miles (36,790 km).[6] The flight was part of a "race" that developed between Jerrie Mock and Joan Merriam Smith who had flown from a field near San Francisco, CA on March 17, 1964; Smith's departure date and flight path was the same as the aviator Amelia Earhart's last flight.[7] Although they were not in direct competition with each other, media coverage soon began tracking the progress of each pilot, fascinated with who would complete the journey first. Mock was the first to finish. The story of this race is told in a book written by Taylor Phillips entitled, Racing to Greet the Sun, Jerrie Mock and Joan Merriam Smith Duel to Become the First Woman to Solo Around the World (2015). Jerrie Mock was subsequently awarded the Louis Blériot medal from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in 1965. In 1970 she published the story of her round-the-world flight in the book Three-Eight Charlie.[8] While that book is now out of print, a 50th anniversary edition was later published including maps, weather charts and photos.[8] Three-Eight Charlie is a reference to the call sign, N1538C, of the Cessna 180 Skywagon Mock used to fly around the world.[3] Before her death, Mock, mother of three children, resided in Quincy, Florida; northwest of the state capital, Tallahassee.[9]

Early life

Mock with father on April 18, 1964
Mock with father on April 18, 1964

Geraldine "Jerrie" Fredritz Mock was born on November 22, 1925, in Newark, Ohio to Timothy and Blanche (Wright) Fredritz.[10] Her paternal grandparents were German emigrants.[11] During her childhood, she found that she had more in common with the boys. Her interest for flying was sparked when she was 7 years old when she and her father had the opportunity to fly in the cockpit of a Ford Trimotor airplane.[2] In high school, she took an engineering course in which she was the only girl and decided flying was her passion. She graduated from Newark High School in 1943 and went on to attend Ohio State University.[10] At OSU, she became a member of Phi Mu. She left her studies at OSU to wed her husband, Russell Mock in 1945.[12]

Flight around the world

Mock's flight began and ended at Ohio hometown's Port Columbus Airport; expedition financing included a loan from The Columbus Dispatch newspaper. [2] She travelled eastbound, over Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam, among other countries.[2] After stressful days traveling over the Atlantic, Mock was greeted by the president of the Aero Club of Morocco and stayed the night in a French home, where Mock reports, "there were no nightmares of thunderheads over the Atlantic. Dressed in red satin, I danced in marble palaces."[13] Mock later journeyed to Saudi Arabia, where she landed at Dhahran Airport. In her book Three-Eight Charlie, Mock says that after landing in Saudi Arabia the crowd of men around her looked puzzled. One of the men approached her aircraft. “His white-kaffiyeh-covered head nodded vehemently, and he shouted to the throng that there was no man. This brought a rousing ovation”, she recalled.[14] Mock was quite a spectacle in Saudi Arabia where women would not be allowed to drive cars until 2017,[15] much less fly a plane. In Egypt, she mistakenly landed at a secret off-the-map military base instead of the Cairo Airport.[2] Traveling the world gave Mock a new perspective and experiences. Flying over Vietnam, she noted: "Somewhere not far away a war was being fought, but from the sky above, all looked peaceful."[14][2]

Accomplishments and recognition

Jerrie Mock's Spirit of Columbus, a Cessna 180
Jerrie Mock's Spirit of Columbus, a Cessna 180

Official world aviation records: 1964–69

(Sanctioned and accepted by the National Aeronautic Association and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale)






First woman to

Awards and honors

President Johnson awards Mock the Federal Aviation Agency Gold Medal on May 4, 1964
President Johnson awards Mock the Federal Aviation Agency Gold Medal on May 4, 1964


A life-size bronze sculpture of Mock, sculpted by Renate Burgyan Fackler, was unveiled in the courtyard of The Works museum in Newark, Ohio on September 14, 2013.[3][17] Mock's younger sister, Susan Reid, modeled for the statue while wearing Mock's knit skirt, sweater, and leather shoes that she had worn on her round-the-world flight.[3] According to Wendy Hollinger, the publisher who reissued Mock's book about her flight, Mock did not especially like skirts, but "was in a skirt because she thought it would be socially acceptable, especially in the Middle East."[3]

Mock’s Cessna 180 which she flew around the world, “The Spirit of Columbus,” hangs in the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian.[2][3] In June 2007, Mock flew to Chantilly, Virginia, to see “The Spirit of Columbus” for the first time in many years. Mock "was so pleased to see her plane 'airborne' again".[18] The plane previously was in storage, but with the opening of the Udvar-Hazy Center, is now back on display.

The United States Air Force named a street in honor of Mock at Rickenbacker AFB (presently Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base and Rickenbacker International Airport) in Lockbourne, Ohio (near Columbus).

A plaque bearing Mock's accomplishments can be found in the Tallahassee Regional Airport's Aviation Wall of Fame in Tallahassee, Florida.


Mock died in her home in Quincy, Florida and was found by a relative on September 30, 2014.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Weber, Bruce (October 4, 2014). "Jerrie Mock, First Solo Female Pilot to Circumnavigate the Globe, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Cheng, Lucia (August 12, 2022). "Who Was the First Woman to Fly Solo Around the World?". Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Narciso, Dean (September 13, 2013). "Trailblazing woman pilot honored in bronze in Newark". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  4. ^ Buchanan, Paul D. (September 15, 2009). American Women's Rights Movement: A Chronology of Events and of Opportunities from 1600 to 2008. Branden Books. pp. 183–. ISBN 978-0-8283-2160-0. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  5. ^ "Women Aviators". Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  6. ^ Mock, Jerrie (1970) Three-Eight Charlie. Philadelphia, Lippincott. OCLC 97976
  7. ^ "How An Ohio Housewife Flew Around The World, Made History, And Was Then Forgotten". BuzzFeed. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Three-Eight Charlie". Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  9. ^ Durden, Rick (October 1, 2014). "Jerrie Mock Goes West". AVweb. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Royster, Jacqueline Jones (2003). Profiles of Ohio Women, 1803–2003. Ohio University Press. p. 91. ISBN 9780821415085.
  11. ^ 1900 United States Federal Census
  12. ^ Colker, David (October 1, 2014). "Geraldine 'Jerrie' Mock dies at 88; first woman to fly solo around world". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ Most, MaryCate (July 31, 2016). "Food & Flight: Jerrie Mock's Moroccan Recipe". Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Celebrating Jerrie Mock, the First Woman to Fly Around the World". March 11, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  15. ^ Hubbard, Ben (September 26, 2017). "Saudi Arabia Agrees to Let Women Drive". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  16. ^ "The Flying Housewife" (PDF). Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Kanclerz, Jacob (September 15, 2013). "Local aviator's legacy forever enshrined with statue at The Works". The Newark Advocate. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  18. ^ Cochrane, Dorothy (October 3, 2014). "Remembering Jerrie Mock (1925–2014)". Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  19. ^ Rinehart, Earl (October 1, 2014). "Jerrie Mock, first woman to fly solo around the globe, dies at 88". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved October 1, 2014.