Tag Archives: Médaille Louis Blériot

19 March–17 April 1964

Geraldine Freditz Mock with her Cesnna 180, N1538C.
Geraldine Fredritz Mock with her Cessna 180, N1538C, at Columbus, Ohio, 19 March 1964. (National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution)

19 March–17 April 1964: Geraldine Fredritz (“Jerrie”) Mock landed her 1953 Cessna 180, Spirit of Columbus, N1538C, at Columbus, Ohio, completing a circumnavigation of the Earth she had begun at 9:31 a.m., 19 March 1964. Mock was the first woman to complete a circumnavigation by air. Her journey covered 23,103 miles (36,964 kilometers). The total elapsed time was 29 days, 11 hours, 59 minutes. The flight set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Around the World, Eastbound, of 52.75 kilometers per hour (32.78 miles per hour).¹

Jerrie Mock held twenty-two FAI world records, set between 1964 and 1969.

Cessna 180 serial number 30238 was built by the Cessna Aircraft Company, Inc., Wichita, Kansas, in 1953, and registered N1538C, the first year of production for the model. It was the 238th of 640 Model 180s that were built during the first year of production. 6,193 were built by the time production came to an end in 1986. N1538C was purchased for Jerrie Mock in 1963, with a total of 990 hours on the engine and airframe. The passenger seats were removed and replaced with additional fuel tanks. Additional radios and instruments were installed.

Jerrie Mock in the cockpit of her Cessna 180.
Jerrie Mock in the cockpit of her Cessna 180. (Robert W. Klein/Associated Press)

The Cessna Model 180 is an all-metal, four-place, single-engine, high-wing monoplane with fixed landing gear. It is 26 feet, 2 inches (7.976 meters) long with a wingspan of 36 feet (10.973 meters) and height of 7 feet, 9 inches (2.362 meters). N1538C has an empty weight of 1,480 pounds (671.3 kilograms) and gross weight of 2,550 pounds (1,156.6 kilograms).

Spirit of Columbus is powered by an air-cooled, normally-aspirated 471.239-cubic-inch-displacement (7.722 liter) Continental O-470-A horizontally-opposed six-cylinder overhead valve (OHV) direct-drive engine with a compression ratio of 7:1. This engine is rated at 225 horsepower at 2,600 r.p.m., burning 80/87 aviation gasoline, and turns a two-bladed constant speed propeller.

The airplane has a maximum cruising speed of 160 miles per hour (257 kilometers per hour). Its service ceiling is 21,200 feet (6,462 meters).

After her around the world flight, Jerrie Mock never flew Spirit of Columbus again. Cessna exchanged it for a new six-place P206 Super Skylane, N155JM. For many years N1538C was hanging over a production line at the Cessna factory. Today, Mock’s Cessna 180 is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum.

Jerrie Mock with her Cessna P206, N155JM. (FAI)
Jerrie Mock with her Cessna P206, N155JM. (FAI)

On 4 May 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented Jerrie Mock with the Federal Aviation Agency Gold Medal for Distinguished Service, and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale awarded her its Louis Blériot Silver Medal.

President Lyndon Johnson bestows the FAA Gold Medal for Distinguished Service on Geraldine Mock, 4 May 1964. (UPI)

Geraldine Fredritz Mock died Monday, 30 September 2014, at the age of 88 years.

1953 Cessna 180, N1538C, Spirit of Columbus, on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. (National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution)
1953 Cessna 180, N1538C, Spirit of Columbus, on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. (National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution)

¹ FAI Record File Number 3526

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

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10 April 1972

Lieutenant Colonel Roy Windover, Royal Canadian Air Force, seated in the cockpit of his Interstate S-1A Cadet, N37239, after setting a world record for altitude. —The Cincinnati Enquirer, Sunday 16 July 1972, Page 50, Columns 4 and 5

10 April 1972: Lieutenant Colonel W. Roy Windover, Royal Canadian Air Force, a pilot assigned to the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Altitude when he flew a 1941 Interstate Cadet S-1A, N37239, to an altitude of 9,388 meters (30,801 feet) ¹ over Pike’s Peak, a 14,115 foot (4,320 meter) mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, near Colorado Springs, Colorado. The FAI awarded him its Médaille Louis Blériot for his achievement.

Pikes Peak, 14,115.19 feet (4,302.31 meters), west of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In 1958, Flight Lieutenant Windover had been the first Royal Canadian Air Force Red Knight, a solo aerobatics demonstration performer, flying a bright red Canadair CT-133 Silver Star.

Windover’s Interstate Cadet S-1A, serial number 82, was built by the Interstate Aircraft and Engineering Company, El Segundo, California, in 1941. The airplane was assigned an Airworthiness Certificate on 18 December 1958 and registered N37239.

The Cadet was a single-engine, high-wing monoplane with a tandem cockpit and fixed landing gear. The fuselage of the Cadet was built of a tubular steel framework with a wooden structure for the wings, covered in doped fabric. The airplane was 23 feet, 5 inches (7.137 meters) long with a wingspan of 35 feet, 6 inches (10.820 meters) and height of 7 feet (2.134 meters). The airplane had a maximum weight of 1,200 pounds (544 kilograms).

Interstate Cadet S-1A NC34939, the same type airplane flown W. Roy Windover to set a World Record for Altitude 10 April 1972.

The Cadet S-1A was powered by an air-cooled, normally-aspirated 171.002-cubic-inch-displacement (2.802 liter) Continental A65-8 horizontally-opposed four cylinder direct-drive engine, with a compression ratio of 6.3:1. It was rated at 65 horsepower at 2,300 r.p.m. at Sea Level, using 73-octane gasoline.

At the time N37239 set this record, it was powered by an air-cooled, normally-aspirated, 171.002-cubic-inch-displacement (2.802 liter) Continental A75 horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine with a compression ratio of 6.3:1, rated at 75 horsepower at 2,600–2,650 r.p.m. (depending on variant) at Sea Level. The A75 required 73-octane aviation gasoline.

The Cadet S-1A had a maximum speed of 103 miles per hour (166 kilometers per hour) and maximum diving speed of 139 miles per hour (224 kilometers per hour). The service ceiling was 16,500 feet (5,029 meters) and range was 540 miles (869 kilometers).

Approximately 320 Cadets were built by Interstate during 1941–1942. In 1942 and 1943, another 259 were built as OX-63, L-6 and L-8 Grasshopper light observation airplanes.

N37239 caught fire during a training flight near Amarillo, Texas, 12 January 1995. After an emergency landing, the airplane was destroyed by the fire. The cause was not determined. The airplane was rebuilt and issued an Airworthiness Certificate 8 April 1999. It is currently registered in Farmington, Missouri.

Roy Windover’s Red Knight CT-133 Silver Star, 21057.

¹ FAI Record File Number 1918

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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