Amazing Woman: Lilian Bland

Next in the Amazing Woman series, I want to talk about someone who let their passions guide them to accomplishing several world first moments. Imagine, it’s the early 1900’s and we are part of the age of steam power and are starting to realize the potential of the gas engine. Massive steam ships cross the ocean. Zeppelins float across the sky.

It’s an age of discovery and today’s featured historical figure wanted to be right in the middle of it.

By Screenshot by uploadineditor, original photo uncrdited – Screenshot from Flight Iternational archive, http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1910/1910%20-%201027.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23984699

On to April’s Amazing Woman!

Everyone has heard of Amelia Earhart and her accomplishments in flight, but I guarantee you no one has heard of Lilian Bland. In short, Lilian Bland was the first woman to design, build, and fly her own airplane in 1910.

In this time period, hardly anyone had even seen a plane, let alone ridden in one. The Wright Brothers performed their first flight only seven years earlier in 1903. Amelia Earhart’s first solo flight across the Atlantic occurred in 1928.

Lilian’s story is nothing short of incredible. She became interested in flying after her uncle sent her a postcard of the Bleriot monoplane from Paris. With that picture, she studied the measurements and added her own thoughts to the design.

Her plane, the Mayfly, was built in her late uncle’s workshop after testing a series of models and prototypes. With each test she modified and improved the design until the plane was strong enough to lift four policemen. She reasoned that if it could lift four men, it could carry one English engine and then ordered one from A. V. Roe & Co.

A further demonstration of her passion is revealed when she wanted to test the Mayfly with it’s new engine before the petrol tank was ready so she improvised using an empty whiskey bottle and her deaf aunt’s ear trumpet.

By Uncredited(Life time: Uncredited) – “Flying in Ireland”, Flight. 18 February 1911. P. 139, PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41310208

The Mayfly’s first successful flight was on a hill in Randalstown in August of 1910. The controls consisted of a bicycle handle bar. The pilot, none other than Lilian Bland herself, sat in an open air canvas seat. This attempt resulted in an engine powered glide of about 30 feet. The Mayfly’s longest recorded flight was approximately 400 meters.

This flight made Lilian the first woman to fly an aircraft in Ireland and was also the first flight of a powered biplane in Ireland.

Seeing as flying airplanes in this time period was still extremely dangerous, Lilian’s father was extremely concerned about the safety and well-being of his daughter. He convinced her to give up flying by buying her a car. Turns out she loved cars almost as much as she loved planes and she ended up running her own car dealership by April 1911.

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Positive Messages in Stonebearer’s Betrayal

While there are a lot of books out there with terrific messages, there are also a rampant amount of books out there that idolize unhealthy relationships and glorify questionable life choices.

While Stonebearer’s Betrayal is far from perfect, it does contain several positive messages that I think are important for everyone.

Image by azboomer from Pixabay

#1 – The power is in you

Perhaps the most important message in Katira’s story is that everyone, regardless of if they have magic or not, has the power to change a situation. Choosing to be brave and make hard decisions can be scary, but in the long run it’s ultimately more rewarding.

#2 – There is a special magic that can only happen between people who have been together for years and years.

Katira’s parents, Jarand and Mirelle, have been together for almost two hundred years.
They share a magic bond that helps them feel and understand what the other is feeling. Throughout the story we get to see the beautiful give and take of their relationship and how close they are to each other. While magic like this doesn’t exist in the real world, this kind of closeness and empathy can be cultivated when a couple is willing to continually work on improving their understanding of each others needs.

#3 – If a relationship isn’t working out, it’s okay to part in friendship.

Sometimes things don’t work between people. It happens. Pop culture constantly shows us that this break up calls for drama and nastiness, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Often, all that’s needed is a heartfelt conversation where each person feels safe to talk about how they feel. It takes a lot of courage to do this because as we all know, feelings hurt. The more people can see this happen in the media they consume, the more likely they will be willing to try.

#4 – It’s okay for things to go badly, it’s not okay to endlessly wallow in it.

Most fiction does an admirable job showing that those who wallow in self-pity only manage to prolong their own suffering and cause themselves additional problems. However, sometimes stories reinforce the message that the sad person gets all the attention while the person who chooses to move on is portrayed as heartless or uncaring. There can be a balance. It’s okay to feel bad when things go wrong, in fact it’s healthy to allow a moment to mourn or be angry. It’s not healthy to remain there longer than necessary.

#5 – You don’t have to be a princess or specially chosen to do something amazing.

There is this very damaging idea that ordinary people can’t do important things, that they need special permission or the perfect opportunity or the right people to guide them. This is far from true. Anyone can take steps to work toward a challenging goal. It takes courage to step out of the box, to break the mold, and to do the incredible – and that’s why it’s powerful to see when others succeed. You can succeed too!

Fortune favors the bold, Aristotle

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