Jerrie Mock, first woman to fly solo around the world, lives a gypsy life

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jerrie Mock, who 20 years ago became the first woman to fly solo around the world, today calls herself a gypsy and sometimes lives in a tent.

Mrs. Mock, 58, returned to Columbus for the 20th anniversary of her flight.


The April 17, 1964, event will be observed quietly Tuesday with a family dinner in a restaurant.

Mrs. Mock dazzled the world with her 29-day, 23,206-mile journey in an 11-year-old single-engine Cessna.

After her feat, she was in demand for speaking engagements throughout the world.

By 1969, the glamour was over and she was living in New Guinea, flying a plane for missionaries.

'I flew my last plane in November 1969 for the missionaries,' Mrs. Mock said. 'I haven't flown since then, because I haven't had the money.'

She divorced her husband, Russell, in 1979 and spends the summers visiting friends in the North. But when the weather cools, she and her dog, Zappa, head south in her car and often live out of a tent.

She has supported herself in recent years by selling family property and from money from infrequent speaking engagements. But she isn't complaining.


'I've always been a loner,' she said. 'I guess you have to be a loner to be a solo pilot. On my trip, I would spend up to 33 hours alone in my Cessna.'

Mrs. Mock is trying to persuade a publisher to reprint the book she wrote about her flight.

'Then we can make a movie out of it, and I can get enough money to fly again,' she said.

She also wants to return to New Guinea.

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