As I alluded to in my post on Charles Lindbergh last month, I'm expanding the conversation about pioneers in aviation, notably women pilots in the infancy of aviation. The Great War was the first time that airplanes were used so extensively, and when it ended in 1918, manufacturers and the government were left with a surplus of planes no longer needed in the war effort. Since the beginning of time, though, people have yearned to fly so the public was more than ready to buy up the surplus and take to the skies themselves. And surprisingly, a number of women strapped on leather helmets and goggles and climbed into the open cockpits of those early planes. Most were single engine bi-wing planes (Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" being the most common) with few controls and virtually no regulations in the early days on qualifications for flying them.
|Amelia Earhart, Courtesy Wiki Commons|
She continued to scale new heights and was an advocate and supporter of other women in aviation. In 1935, she became the first person to fly solo from Honolulu to California, and in 1937, set her sights on becoming the first woman to fly around the world, a journey of 29,000 miles. With only 7000 miles left, contact was lost with the Coast Guard who was monitoring her flight. Amelia's plane simply disappeared over the South Pacific. Rescue efforts were unsuccessful and eventually called off, but her legacy remains. She would have been 40 years old two weeks after she disappeared.
|Bessie Coleman, Courtesy Wiki Commons|
|Pancho Barnes - Courtesy Wiki Commons|
|Louise Thaden (on right) with friend Frances Marsalis - Courtesy Wiki Commons|
Marvel Crosson, a young pilot from Alaska, also competed in the National Air Derby of 1929. Immensely popular with the other women in the race, it was a sobering moment when Marvel's plane crashed in the Arizona desert, throwing her from the plane and killing her. It was the only fatality in the race.
Flying was a dangerous calling, but one for which the women who answered the call, would not be thwarted. They were smart, courageous, and leaders on the frontier of aviation. In the words of Amelia Earhart,
"After midnight, the moon set, and I was alone with the stars. I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, and I need no other flight to convince me that the reason flyers fly, whether they know it or not, is the esthetic appeal of flying."
That appeal is part of what inspired me to write A Flying Affair, the story of a high-spirited young woman in the Roaring Twenties where adventure and romance collide in the skies. The book releases in June, but for you, dear readers, I have an early copy that I'm giving away here.
GIVEAWAY: Please leave a comment below telling me the most adventurous thing you've ever done. Or better yet, have you flown a plane yourself or jumped out of one? I can't wait to hear your answers!
Carla Stewart is the award-winning author of six novels. With a passion for times gone by, it is her desire to take readers back to that warm, familiar place in their hearts called “home.” Her 2014 release, The Hatmaker's Heart, was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award and is a current Selah Award finalist. A Flying Affair releases June 2, 2015 . Daredevil Mittie Humphreys navigates her heart as well as the skies in this beguiling adventure of grit and determination during the rollicking Roaring Twenties. Learn more about Carla at www.carlastewart.com
When I was a child my Father had long service leave. We took off in the old station wagon and tented our way around Australia for months.ReplyDelete
We got so proficient at setting up camp & pulling it down we could have won gold at the Olympics.
My Mother was fond of saying: "We were never lost, just having an adventure". It truly was too.
I'd love to experience this magical adventure through the eyes of grown-up. (Maybe with just a few more creature comforts though.)
I love what your mother said - it's all in how you look at it. What a great childhood this must have been! Thanks for sharing.Delete
I don't know if this was adventurous, but it was definitely the stupidest thing I've done. Freshmen year of college I rode in a shopping cart while holding onto a rope that was connected to a moving truck. I was the only girl who would try. I went as fast as the boys and would have lasted longer if the cop hadn't shown up. I jumped off that cart so fast and back into the truck before the cop could get out of his car. However, the evidence went rolling by the truck as the cop was giving us a friendly verbal warning. Thanks for having the giveaway. Your book sounds interesting, I really enjoy stories about women pilots.ReplyDelete
Oh goodness - that was definitely adventurous and dangerous! It's pretty amazing that so many of us have survived the antics (yes, sometimes stupid) of our youth! I think there was a definite adrenalin rush that lured the barnstormers in the 1920s.Delete
The most adventurous thing I've ever done is adventurous in a different way. My husband and I moved from our home state where we had grown up, knew everyone, and moved to Maine when our grandson was born up here. We had no jobs and only knew about 6 people. Thankfully, the husband found a job right away. It was a God-thing, and definitely adventurous for us!ReplyDelete
I love this! Yes, it was an adventure. Sometimes you just have to take a leap! Thanks, Connie!Delete
I am afraid of heights. So on our honeymoon one of the places we stopped was the tallest building there in Toronto,Canada. The windows were all the way down to the floor. Looking out the people and cars looked like ants. I felt so dizzy but wanted to accomplish this. My next adventure that I want to do is fly in an airplane. Being afraid of heights this is something I feel like I need to do.ReplyDelete
I can totally relate, Deanne, to your fear of heights. I get sick at my stomach standing on the edge of canyons and high places. Good for you in wanting to conquer your fear, and good luck with learning to fly!Delete
I have not been in an airplane.. Don't think I could! I have been in a mine in Colorado, I don't mind underground but the ocean & airplanes I have just a little fear of... Very interesting post today.ReplyDelete
Deanna, I think your fears are common. I'm afraid of heights, but oddly enough, flying in airplanes doesn't bother me at all. I think being in an enclosed space lessens the fear. Thanks for sharing!Delete
When I was 18, I went on a skiing trip to Vermont. I'd never skied in my life, left the bunny slope and about killed myself at the bottom as I hadn't learned to stop except to throw myself into a fence. Never went again...ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you survived. I've never skied and really had no desire (I'm chicken!), but I think the part that scares me is the ride on the lift - I absolutely freak out on those. Maybe you should try skiing again and keep to the bunny slopes :-)Delete
I'd have to say the most adventuresome thing I've already done is a semester abroad to teach MKs. I'm an introvert so willingly moving to Asia for 6 months to integrate with a new family & culture was crazy. I'm also about to embark on the World Race, an 11 month 11 country backpacking mission trip. :)ReplyDelete
I'd say you have an adventurous spirit to be an introvert. I admire anyone who does mission work, and the backpacking trip sounds like something you should write a book about! Thanks for chiming in!Delete
Interesting post, Carla! I'm especially interested because I began a historical romance about a girl barnstormer in the Roaring 20s! (Never finished it, but hope to someday.) So I did some of that same research, especially about Pancho Barnes, who was a famous Barnstormer. I've never flown a plane, but my dad was a pilot in WWII. So his interest in airplanes has always interested me. (I do have a pilot in my latest published book. --A little promotion there. LOL)ReplyDelete
Donna - this is great! You should dust that book off and finish it. Pancho Barnes was quite a character but with a heart as big as her boisterous life. I wish you much success with your newest book. God bless.Delete
Loved your book, Carla! I remember touring the Tulsa Air & Space Museum several years ago and being fascinated with the displays about the early women pilots. Your novel brought them all to life!ReplyDelete
Myra, you're a doll to have read for endorsement! I can't thank you enough. Yes, the Tulsa A & S Museum is pretty incredible, and Oklahoma does claim Bessie Coleman as one of their own. This truly was a labor of love once I started learning about the women aviatrices.Delete
I've never flown a plane or jumped out of one. Heights are not my favorite to be honest. I haven't done anything adventurous, but does getting on roller coasters count?ReplyDelete
Getting on a roller coaster counts big time! Those are some of the scariest things around, and you have NO CONTROL over what is happening.Delete
In the spirit of going with the gang and doing the vacation adventure thing, I agreed to ride a cable up the Swiss Alps, though I hate heights, especially while moving. Started out lots of fun ... until we crossed an incredibly deep canyon and finally stopped on the other side at the edge, with cable swinging a bit, to get out for a break at a tourist trap on a rather steep site. Absolutely terrifying! Especially to get back in and backtrack down... Never so glad to touch terra firma again.ReplyDelete
Janet, why is it that on vacation we throw caution (and our good sense) to the wind and do things we'd never do in normal life? Eek! I am taking notes on what NOT to do if I ever get to go on that European vacation that's on my bucket list. The swinging cable would have freaked me out. Yay for you that you returned to safety.Delete
Hi Carla, The most adventurous thing I have ever done is to go to Europe with my husband and our friend.We had backpacks, slept in hostels, slept on trains and visited the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Norway for 12 days. We saw fjords, took a bus on the troll road (scary with no guard rails), walked up a mountain for lunch and lots of other fun adventures.ReplyDelete
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
This sounds like a wonderful adventure! Backpacking Europe would be amazing, I think. Thanks so much for sharing.Delete
I've flown quite often to visit family and such. I think the first time I flew alone was around the age of 16. Never really had a fear of flying.ReplyDelete
I have never flown a plane myself or had any inclination to do that or to jump out of an airplane!
Flying alone at sixteen is pretty adventurous, I think! I rode the bus from Oklahoma to California by myself at about that age. I can still remember a lot about that and having an all-night layover in a bus station. I'm not sure I'd even want to do that today !Delete
I'm not sure over been that adventurous. I went hiking on river bed rocks near a paper mill ruins with my now husband. Later. Our honeymoon was no reservations. Just us and two backpacks in French speaking Canada landing from a plane at 11pm. We just explored and existed together not knowing where we'd eat or sleep. Most recently I gave birth to a 10lb 21.75" boy with no medical interference aside from personnel. That was pretty adventurous.ReplyDelete
We're going to be studying aviators in our homeschool this year. I'd love to have this book for me to eat along side.
What a unique honeymoon. I love what you said about just existing together. Lovely. You're pretty adventurous to home school. Check out my column here next month. I'll be recommending a documentary that your kiddos will like.Delete
I can't think of anything brave, unless you would consider raising kids, my own and several others an adventure. To hear them tell it, it was.ReplyDelete
Anyway, adventure or not, I love your books Carla!
Whether I win or not, this one will be added to my shelves!
Thank you, Mary, for loving my books. Sometimes it's brave to try a new author - thanks for picking mine. And as the mother of four boys, I know that raising kids is a new adventure every day and not for the faint of heart!!Delete
The bravest thing I did in the aviation sort of way was parachuting in a wind tunnel. I forgot to close my mouth and the wind blowing into my mouth made it so I couldn't breathe. I got them to shut off the wind fan and then recovered and went again later on. That was it for me! sm wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)comReplyDelete
Oh. My. Goodness. I've never heard of this. Yes, I can see that you might want to keep your mouth closed. Thanks so much for sharing that!Delete
Probably the most adventurous thing I've done is going up in a small plane. I'd never been in a plane before and really didn't want to go but our friend was the pilot and he was taking the rest of my family for a ride. I figured I'd better go with them. I didn't really enjoy it. I'm not very adventurous; I prefer reading about adventures! This was a very imformative post. Being a native Kansan, I knew about Amelia Earhart and have heard about Bessie Coleman, but hadn't heard of the other early women pilots. Your book sounds very interesting, one I'd love to read.ReplyDelete
Living vicariously through books is how I learned about the world, so I can totally relate. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the plane ride - I'm not sure how I would like riding in a small plane myself, but it was a blast writing about it. I do hope you're able to read the book and let me know how you like it. Amelia is in the book briefly, but Bessie is not. I believe she died before the time of my story. Thanks, Pam!Delete
Loved this blog post! And I'm excited to enter this book giveaway!ReplyDelete
The most adventurous thing I've done... That's tough. I've jumped off a twenty foot cliff with a rope swing, faced off a moose, raced my horse through the open fields, leapt in front of a runaway horse to stop it...
Oh, I know! One time I was training a horse for a neighbor, and the horse had a sudden conniption fit. It reared and tried to strike me, but I calmly jerked on the lead-rope to get it back down. That mean ol' mare then turned and tried to kick me, and I smacked it's backside. I stuck with that horse, it rearing and kicking and backing me into a corner, and refused to back down as she tried to get me. Then the owner finally yelled for me to let her go. She was afraid I'd get hurt. I was thirteen at the time. That was probably the bravest thing I've ever done. :)
I hope I win this book! I LOVE history!
Emily - you crack me up. You sound so much like Mittie in A FLYING AFFAIR! It has horses, too, as the family owns a prosperous horse farm in Kentucky. Oh, I can't wait for you to read it!!Delete
My most adventurous activity.....white water rafting with my husband and three others and we capsized!!!!!! Never have done it again!ReplyDelete
Oh, no! Another activity I've always been afraid to do for that very reason. I know you wear life vests and obviously you lived to tell about it. What a great adventure, though! Thanks for sharing.Delete
Fascinating post, Carla! Zip-lining is one of the most adventurous things I've done and I loved it. Thank you so much for this wonderful giveaway opportunity. I can't wait to read A Flying Affair!ReplyDelete
texaggs2000 at gmail dot com
Britney, everyone I know who has tried zip lining loved it. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Thanks, everyone, for your great comments and for visiting Heroes, Heroines, and History. The winner of A FLYING AFFAIR is Melanie Backus - chosen by random.org. Stay tuned for more opportunities to win books from our other authors.ReplyDelete
Hello Carla. Thanks for this post. I never piloted a plane and no way would I drop out of one. First time I flew in one was when I was 14. Our pastor had a single engine plane and would give us kids rides on Sunday afternoons. He liked to tip it over to scare us. The most adventurous thing I did was to ever get on skis. We had moved to Wyoming and that was a big thing. My husband and I decided to give it a try. It was scary to me. I did manage to stand up but couldn't stop without falling. My husband fell tho and hurt his knee so never went again. There skiing was taught in schools so my girls learned fast. They also learned ice skating. I did go hunting Elk in 40 below O. guess that would count as most adventurous. HA! Would love to win your book. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <ReplyDelete
Fascinating post! I may have to come back again this afternoon so I can share it with my children.ReplyDelete
Hmm… most adventurous thing I've ever done?
I joined the Air Force when I was 17. I became a medic and worked in the ER at our base hospital (back when most bases had Emergency Rooms). Later, I deployed to Saudi with our 60 person hospital team. It really wasn't all that exciting except when Desert Fox began and we learned from the news that the US was bombing Bagdad. When I asked how far away we were I was told, "8 minutes by missile." Who says those things?! That week we ran around in helmets and with our chem gear close at hand, but thankfully we never had to use any of it.
Many other people have served in far more harrowing situations. My husband for instance. :) **Proud Wife**