Lt. Col. Jacqueline Cochran

Lt. Col. Jacqueline Cochran, born - May 11, 1906 Pensacola, Fla.
In the 1930s, Cochran accepted an offer from a friend to go up for an airplane ride, and it seems that was all it took.  Soon afterward, Jackie began taking flying lessons at Roosevelt Airfield, Long Island.
After obtaining her Commercial licence, using her gifts in marketing and business, she created her own line of cosmetics "Wings", and flew her own aircraft around the country promoting her products. Years later, her husband used his Hollywood connections to get Marilyn Monroe to endorse her line of lipstick.
Jackie did much more than simply market her new line of a matter of fact, no one could have ever predicted how much of an impact she would have on the future of aviation...

Following is a list of Jackie's aviation accomplishments:

First woman to compete - MacRobertson Air Race -1934

The only woman to compete in the 1937 Bendix race

Worked with Amelia Earhart to open the Bendix race to women

1937 - Jackie set a new woman's national speed record

1938 - Cochran proceeded to win the Bendix, setting new transcontinental speed, and altitude records in the process

Winner of five Harmon trophies

"Wings for Britain" pilot - ferried American built aircraft to Britain - 
First woman to fly a bomber (a Lockheed Hudson V) across the Atlantic

1940, Cochran wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt with the proposal of creating a women's flying division in the Army Air Forces. This new division would be for the purpose of qualified women pilots performing noncombat aviation operations in order to release more male pilots for combat. This led to the creation of the WACS (Women's Army Corps)

1945 - For her wartime service, Jackie received the Distinguished Service Medal, making Cochran the first woman civilian to receive the DSM, which was then the highest non-combat award presented by the United States government.
1953 - Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier. With Encouragement from long-time friend, then-Major Chuck Yeager, on May 18, at Rogers Dry Lake, California, Cochran flew a Canadair F-86 Sabre at an average speed of 652.337 mph.

Jackie was one of only thirteen women pilots who managed to complete and pass the same preliminary tests as the male astronauts of the Mercury program. Sadly, the program was cancelled, thus ending Jackie's aspirations of joining the Mercury 7 Astronauts.
1961 - Jackie served as a consultant to Northrop Corporation, where she broke a series of speed, distance and altitude records while flying a Northrop T-38A-30-NO Talon supersonic trainer.
Cochran smashed two Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) world records, taking the T-38 to altitudes of 55,252.625 feet in horizontal flight and reaching a peak altitude of 56,072.835 feet.
1964 - First Jackie became the first woman to break twice the speed of sound( Mach 2.0)
She flew a TF-104G Starfighter setting three women's world's speed records. averaging 1,429.3 miles per hour over a 15/25 km course, and 1,303.18 miles per hour, over a 100-km closed-circuit course.

First woman to land and take off from an aircraft carrier, technically making Jackie the first civilian female aviator

First woman to fly a blind instrument approach 

Only woman to ever hold the distinction of president of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (1958–1961)

First woman to fly above 20,000 ft fitted with an oxygen mask

Induction into the International Aerospace Hall of Fame - 1965

Induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame - 1971

Lt. Col. Jacqueline Cochran, still holds more distance and speed records than any pilot living or dead, male or female...

"I might have been born in a hovel but I am determined to travel with the wind and the stars."

Lt. Col. Jacqueline Cochran (May 11, 1906 – August 9, 1980)


  • cs56pd

    What if any was her connection to her now namesake airport in Thermal, CA?

  • Gary Scott

    Your article on Jackie Cochran states, “… technically making Jackie the first civilian female aviator”. Surely you jest. There were MANY female aviators before Cochran’s carrier takeoff and landing. If you want to insert the word “naval” or “Navy” before “aviator”, you would likely be correct. Look at the Merriam-Webster definition of “aviator”.

  • James Reynolds

    I have heard of LtCol J. COCHRAN but this is the most thorough article I have found. Thank you for posting this.

  • Wernert

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