Pilots’ Video Celebrates Lithuania’s Oldest Airport


The oldest airport in Lithuania celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. To mark the milestone, S. Darius and S. Girenas Airfield produced a video sharing what pilots around the world have in common — from watching airplanes fly overhead as a child to that first solo. The 17-minute video, “Stories of Aviation,” was produced with the support of theU.S. Embassy in Vilnius. Itincludes interviews with U.S. Army, Lithuanian air force and GA pilots. They discussed their best flying memories, some harrowing moments and what it took to achieve their goals. “The most difficult part of becoming a pilot is learning to think like a pilot,” said Erich Allen, who flies the UH-60 Black Hawk for the army. “You start learning to control what you can see, not necessarily what you feel.”

“The main aim of this project is to share good examples of how simple people, pilots, driven by a childhood dream and determined to pursue it no matter what, were finally rewarded with the thing they wanted the most — to fly,” said Eugenijus Raubickas, director of the S. Darius and S. Girenas Airfield. “With this project, we want to remind people never to give up on their dreams, no matter how difficult the way seems.” The airport is named after Lithuanian-American pilots Steponas Darius and Stasys Girenas, who died on July 17, 1933, in their attempt to complete a trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Kaunas, Lithuania, in a Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker. They successfully crossed the ocean but crashed a few hundred miles from their destination. The airport is now a protected historical site and is included in a list of “The best flying destinations in Europe,” according to the airfield’s website. An airshow in July also will commemorate the field’s 100th anniversary.