Lithuanian aviation 1919-1940


Aviation Platoon within the Engineers Corp of Lithuanian Army was formed on the 30 of January 1919. The first aircraft with Lithuanian signs flew on the 1 of March 1919. The first Lithuanian Aviation aircrafts were made in Germany and were purchased or were taken as war spoil. Later war plains were made in Italy, France, Czechoslovakia and Great Britain. Training planes and reconnaissance aircrafts were made by A. Gustaitis and production was built in Military Aviation Workshops. Military Aviation took part in the battles for independence against Bolshevism and Poland in 1919-1920. Military Aviation had 8 squadrons, Training Group, Military Aviation Workshops, School for pilots and mechanics and bases in Kaunas, Šiauliai, Panevėžys, network of summer and reserve airfields in 1940.
Aircrafts of some foreign airlines landed in Kaunas since 1922. The airport building in Kaunas was built in 1931. Regular inner passenger service Kaunas-Palanga-Kaunas was initiated on the 3 of June 1939. Planes of Lithuanian Air Lines flyed to Riga too.
Lithuanian Flying Club (LAK) was founded on the 1 of May 1927. Lithuanian Flying Club arranged courses for civil aviation and glider pilots, aeroplane modellers, arranged aeroplane competitions, published literature about aviation. Glider pilots from Lithuania and foreign countries were training in Nida gliding school. In Air Festivals took part pilots with aircrafts from Sport Squadron. Original gliders was built by B. Oškinis, B. Karvelis, A. Paknys, A. Gysas. Lithuanian Flying Club was admitted to the FAI in 1931.
Lithuanian Rifles Union (LŠS) formed Aviation Platoon on the 29 November 1936. This Aviation Platoon had few aircrafts and gliders, arranged courses for pilots.
Ltn. Jurgis Dobkevičius made built and tried the first original Lithuanian aircraft Dobi-I in 1922. In 1923-1924 he made and tried two more aircrafts.
Antanas Gustaitis made, built and tried 9 aircrafts ANBO types in 1925-1939 in flight. Some of them were built in series in the Military Aviation Workshops. There were built 66 ANBO aircrafts.
Lithuanian pilots, USA citizens Stephen Darius and Stanley Girėnas on the plane "Lituanica" (Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker) flew across the Atlantic ocean and perished in Germany, near Soldin (now Mysliborz, Poland) on the 15-17 of July 1933. They covered 6411 km during 37 hours and 11 minutes. Only 650 km was left to Kaunas.
Lithuanian pilot, USA citizen Felix Vaitkus on "Lituanica II" (Lockheed Vega5B) arrived from New York to Kaunas on the 21 -22 of September 1935. He landed in Ireland after 22 h 15 min length of the flying. He covered 5100 km.
Lithuanian aviation activities brought Soviet army on the 15-16 of June 1940. Many pilots were subjected to repression and were killed when Lithuania was occupied.

Information from book: A. Gamziukas „Aviacija Lietuvoje 1919-1940“


Spauskite foto