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Queen of the Clouds: Joan Merriam Smith and Jerrie Mock's Epic Quest to Become the First Woman to Fly Solo Around the World

Taylor C. Phillips

2023 FAPA Award Winner

When Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock set off to fly her single-engine Cessna around the world, she was more concerned with having an adventure than setting a world record. Shortly before she began on her ambitious quest, the housewife learned that a young professional pilot, Joan Merriam Smith, was also attempting to be the first woman to fly solo around the world. While Joan sought to complete Amelia Earhart's equatorial route, Jerrie's course would be completely in the Northern Hemisphere. Despite this difference, the media seized on the idea of a race. During the course of their flights, both women would set aviation records and would have to deal with multiple hazards -- both natural and man-made. Author Taylor C. Phillips interviewed Jerrie Mock multiple times at her home in Quincy, Florida, and also spoke with Joan Merriam Smith's widower at his home in Prattville, Alabama. In addition, Phillips has spoken at length with the granddaughter of Trixie-Ann Schubert, Joan’s biographer. Trixie perished along with Joan less than a year after the historic around-the-world flights. Phillips' research has uncovered previously unknown information that sets the stage for a high-flying adventure.

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