Not only earned her commercial pilot’s license by age 18, but was a certified ground instructor with ratings in civil air regulations, navigation, meteorology, airframe, and engines.
Over the next several years Jerrie set several aviation records for speed, distance, and altitude in a twin-engine Aero Commander, earning her a job with the type’s manufacturer as both a pilot and a manager.
Selected in September of 1959 to be among thirteen women subjected to the Mercury astronaut selection process and completed all three phases of the rigorous program.Three years into the program, it was shut down by NASA.
Become a missionary pilot in 1963 serving the indigenous people of the Amazon jungle.
Pioneered new air routes across the hazardous Andes Mountains and Amazon rain forests, using self-drawn maps that guided her over uncharted territory larger than the United States. For the next 48 years Jerrie enabled the deliveries of medicine, food, seeds, clothing and other necessities to the primitive inhabitants of isolated regions, creating deep bonds of mutual understanding, admiration and friendship.
In 1973, President Nixon awarded Jerrie the Harmon Trophy, naming her “the top woman pilot in the world.”
Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for her humanitarian work in South America.