Helene Dutrieu, aviatrix

Mr S. Pober doubted the Steampunk worth of the following, but sometimes it’s the true things of the early age of air that surprise us the most.  Ms Hélène Dutrieu was a Belgian (and later French) speed cyclist, stunt cyclist, stunt motorcyclist(!), automobile racer, stunt driver(!!), wartime ambulance driver, director of a military hospital, journalist and world famous pioneering aviatrix, known as “Girl Hawk”.

It must be said though, that there was somewhat of a scandal when it was discovered that she didn’t wear a corset while flying!  Goodness gracious.  Quite the do-everything lady though, and she would have been a marvelous Steampunk heroine – but I’m sure were she not real, people would have scoffed at a fictional character who could do so much as unrealistic!  Most impressive, and a nifty flying costume too.