Eberron: Rising from the Last War states unequivocally that the Mark of Storms is required to operate the wheel of wind and water that controls an airship:
A dragonmarked heir of House Lyrandar must pilot a Lyrandar airship, channeling the power of the Mark of Storm through the wheel of wind and water that controls the vessel. (…)
Only a dragonmark heir with the Mark of Storm can use the wheel and command the bound elemental.
(Eberron: Rising from the Last War, pg. 234)
Wheel of Wind and Water
Wondrous item, uncommon
(…) allows a creature that possesses the Mark of Storm to telepathically control the elemental bound inside of the vessel.
(Eberron: Rising from the Last War, pg. 280)
But then it seems to contradict itself on a number of points. First, there are also physical control surfaces:
A standard airship (at least as far as standards have been defined for this relatively new creation) looks similar to an oceangoing ship but is rigged with control fins and rudders rather than sails.
(Eberron: Rising from the Last War, pg. 234)
It’s not at all clear how much control these control surfaces actually provide—they seem unlikely to be able to overpower the might of the elemental controlling the ship—but it certainly is something.
More importantly, the norm for bound-elemental vehicles is that non-dragonmarked characters can interact.
A dragonmarked heir at the helm of a vessel can command the elemental easily. Without such a pilot, it’s very difficult to control the vessel. A character who is touching either the Khyber dragonshard where the bound elemental is housed or the magic item at the vessel’s helm can try to communicate with the elemental, but with no guarantee of success.
(Eberron: Rising from the Last War pg. 234)
It isn’t clear to me if the rules for the wheel of wind and water are supposed to supersede these rules, or if this remains an option even on a Lyrandar airship. Since it’s unclear, you can and should, of course, choose to interpret it the way that makes your story workable.
However, if this does apply to airships, it’s a great possibility for you—elementals do not like being bound, and might happily comply with a plan that could see the elemental’s freedom. It might even comply with a plan where its “freedom” comes in the form of death, if its destruction came with the destruction of those who bound it and benefited from its suffering.
Finally, note that many of the details of elemental vessels in Eberron: Rising from the Last War represent something of a ret-con for Eberron, from 3.5e’s Eberron Campaign Setting:
House Lyrandar operates elemental flying vessels (usually utilizing bound air or fire elementals) to make rapid air travel possible across Khorvaire. Built in Zilargo, these vessels can sometimes be found in privateer hands, but the pilots of Lyrandar are renowned for their skill and expertise.
(Eberron Campaign Setting, pg. 124-125)
Here, there are privateers—unaffiliated with House Lyrandar and therefore almost-certainly lacking a Mark of Storm—who operate airships. This seems to contradict the description of the Wind Whisperer Lhazaar Principality that
includes a number of half-elves with the Mark of Storm—foundlings with no tie to House Lyrandar. The Wind Whisperers want to obtain airships by any means necessary.
(Eberron: Rising from the Last War)
In Eberron Campaign Setting, the Wind Whisperers per se weren’t discussed, but non-Lyrandar airships certainly existed, including within the Lhazaar Principalities.
Anyway, long and short of it is, for your own game, you can choose your own canon. There have been canonical statements that seem to nix the idea, but there have been other canonical statements—even within the same book!—that support it. The 3.5e canon is even rather explicit about non-Lyrandar airships, to say nothing of piracy and hijacking of Lyrandar ships. So there is definitely room for this story in Eberron canon, at least for some definitions of that canon.
- Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron is also 5e content, but it’s Unearthed Arcana content and moreover is largely replaced by Eberron: Rising from the Last War. I haven’t doubled-checked that publication for statements on this subject, but even if it had some their canonicity would be doubtful.
Many thanks to Ryan C. Thompson and Darth Pseudonym for pointing out many crucial details in Eberron: Rising from the Last War that greatly improved this answer.