Jerrie Cobb was America’s first woman to complete astronaut training and qualify for space flight. She held four world records in speed, altitude, and distance
“I couldn’t reach the pedals, so I just played around with the stick and it was just marvelous. The freedom was just marvelous.”
– Jerrie Cobb, reflecting on a flight with her father in 1943
Oklahoma native Jerrie Cobb received her pilot’s license at age 17, her commercial pilot’s license at 18, and flight and ground instructor’s rating at 21. After graduating from Oklahoma City’s Classen High School, she spent one year at the Oklahoma College for Women in Chickasha, Oklahoma. She served as a test pilot for Aero Commander in Bethany, Oklahoma early in her career. She was a semi-professional softball player for the Oklahoma City Queens, where she saved enough money to buy a World War II surplus Fairchild PT23. At 22, she flew for an airplane delivery service and returned to Ponca City as a test pilot in 1955. She completed testing for NASA in 1959 and was one of NASA’s Mercury 13. She became a consultant to NASA’s space program in 1961. She was a bush pilot in missionary endeavors in the Amazon for the next forty years and established the Jerrie Cobb Foundation, Inc. For her work, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1981 for her work with the native people of the Amazon and was later the recipient of the Amelia Earhart Award and Medal. Her life was recorded in her biography, Jerrie Cobb, Solo Pilot.