About Jacqueline Cochran

Jacqueline Cochran was one of the most prominent aviators of the 20th Century and is likely the most important aviator in the County's history. Ms. Cochran earned her pilots license in 1932, and by 1934, was already participating in international air races. A contemporary and friend of Amelia Earhart, she tried to dissuade Earhart from attempting the 1937 round-the-world flight that led to her demise.

During World War II, Cochran was the director of Women's Flying Training, and was the founder and director of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) Program. Following the war, she became a Lieutenant Colonel in the U. S. Air Force Reserve. In 1953, she became the first woman pilot to break the sound barrier.

Jacqueline Cochran held more speed, altitude, and distance records than any other pilot, male or female. Cochran was enshrined in the Aviation Hall of Fame in 1971. Ms. Cochran died at her Indio home in 1980. She was a long-time resident of the Coachella Valley and is buried in Coachella Valley Cemetery. She regularly utilized Thermal Airport over the course of her long aviation career.