Sunday, June 17, 2012
Then, she got it into her head to fly around the world and see all those places she had only heard about. The next thing you knew, her basement was full of airways charts, financing was arranged from her hometown newspaper and a group of aviation equipment manufacturers, and her Cessna 180 -- nicknamed "Charlie" -- was modified with fancy avionics and enough super large tanks to carry 178 gallons of gas.
Taking off from the Port Columbus, Ohio, airport on March 19, 1964, Mock faced a 29-day 23,206 mile trip she had entirely planned herself to include nineteen stops. What it also included, however, was severe icing over the Atlantic, vicious wind fronts, a Sahara Desert sandstorm, faulty brakes that threw her plane into a series of 360 degree spins in Bermuda, and the discovery that a main antenna motor wire was disconnected and taped off (suggesting foul play)!
Nevertheless, Mock made the trip, touched down safely back in Columbus on April 25th, and even beat out another pilot -- also a woman -- who had tried at the last minute to complete a round-the-world loop herself before Mock could get it done. "I never wanted it to be a race," Mock said simply, "but once it became one, I decided to try and win it." Of course.