90 years ago two Lithuanian pilots Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas crossed the Atlantic on a flight from New York to Kaunas, the then capital of Lithuania.
They never made it to the destination.
Their plane, a six-seater Bellanca, crashed in Germany, probably because of deteriorating weather conditions.
The two pilots died, but entered the history of aviation. At the time, their flight was the longest non-stop flight even flown.
When reading their story, it struck me, how similar their challenges were to contemporary aviators face when making record-breaking flights. Challenging weather, money issues, search for sponsors, and even sometimes political challenges. And communication of their mission. Just like today’s aviators, Darius and Girenas needed to communicate their mission skillfully and appealingly. They wanted to inspire their countrymen and honor the newly founded state of Lithuania. They attended to details: their named the plane “Lituanica” and even changed their surnames a bit so that they sounded better. Apparently, they also cooperated with – what we would call today – PR professionals.
Have a look at this article for more interesting details: