Tag: AVIATION

The Real: Sophie Blanchard

Sophie Blanchard broke many of the first gender barriers in aviation, only for them to go up again after she was gone

Last month, I had the opportunity to write a couple of guest posts for Women’s History Month. I’d originally wanted to highlight pioneering balloonist Sophie Blanchard as an overlooked subject for historical fiction. But her life story begged for a longer piece and she does in fact have a couple of books based on her life. So I saved my post for here instead.

This is also part of a new feature I’d like to try. The Real is where I’ll highlight a real-life historical personality and make book recommendations (particularly fiction based on their lives.)

Sophie Blanchard was one of history’s earliest aviators. In the early 19th century, she became the first woman to pilot her own balloon and also became the first female military aviator, appointed by Napoleon himself!


Outpost: Unsung Heroes of Women’s History Month

I was invited to write a guest post for P.K. Adams’s history blog to help celebrate unsung women heroes for Women’s History Month.

In the course of researching my novel, I came across many stories of women who fought for the Soviet Union. Since my story focuses on fighter pilots, I was especially interested in those who flew in combat. Other historical fiction writing highlights the night bomber crews, the famous “Night Witches.” For my post, I thought it would be good to highlight three other women pilots who deserve more recognition: one was an air ambulance pilot celebrated on propaganda posters; one flew ground attack planes and survived a German death camp only to be persecuted by the Soviets after the war; and one commanded a regiment of male pilots and has a monument to her in Moscow.

Many thanks to P.K. Adams for giving me this opportunity at writing this guest post, or “outpost,” as I’d like to call it, to avoid confusing with guest posts on my own blog 😊. Don’t @ me!

You can read the post here:

The Forgotten History of Soviet Women Pilots


Deadly Skies: Soviet Women Fighter Pilots of WWII

Nearly eight decades ago, Soviet women fighter pilots proved they could be the Top Guns of their day.

We live in a time when shockingly regressive views can gain traction and popularity. Case in point: apparently some people aren’t convinced that women can fly planes. That deserves a “well, actually:” women have been involved with powered flight since the very beginning.

While pioneering early aviators like Amelia Earhart may have seemed like novelties or aberrations, that changed with World War II. Just as it was a time for women to prove in large numbers they could do “a man’s job” in science and industry, this was also when women proved they could fly planes just as well. Air forces on all sides employed women as test pilots and to ferry new planes to the front lines. Moreover, in the Soviet Union, women pilots were put to the ultimate test in combat.

Due to the Cold War, the contribution of Soviet women combat pilots was little known in the West. Thankfully, more and more, their history is coming to light. Most of the attention goes to the “Night Witches,” an all-female regiment of bomber pilots. Flying their antiquated biplanes in the dead of night, they are a plucky underdog story. But arguably more amazing is the fact that the Soviet Union also entrusted women with the most expensive and technologically advanced hardware the Motherland had to offer: fighter planes.

This is the story of Soviet women fighter pilots of World War II.


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