Today in 1910 the first woman ever received her airplane pilot’s licence and thus becoming the first aviatrix in history: Raymonde de Laroche.
Her story is quite remarkable, she was created a baron by none other than Czar Nicholas II and was quite an accompolished balloon pilot when she went to get her airplane pilot’s licence. And she was also quite successful as an actress prior to becoming an aviatrix.
This short paragraph alone makes her ideal material for becoming the heroine in a Steampunk adventure, I think.
Sadly, Madame La Roche was killed during a test flight in 1919, in which she participated as the co-pilot. The aicraft crashed during landing maneuvres. An untimely but also glorious and fitting death.