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Who were Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas?

Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas were not only determined pilots who were not deterred from flying by plane crashes, but had other occupations as well.

S. Darius was actively interested in sports. In his spare time he popularized football, baseball and basketball, published rule books and initiated the project of the first stadium in Lithuania. His wife Jaunutė was also interested in sports. S. Darius noticed his future wife at a basketball game, that’s when their love story began.

S. Girėnas had a calm manner – he was actively interested in technology and saved money for it while working in a printing house. The first vehicle he purchased was a bicycle, which he later traded for a newly invented motorcycle, which was then traded for a motorboat. S. Girėnas also founded a Lithuanian taxi company “Hub Cab” in Chicago. He worked as a carrier in all possible means of transport – land, water, air, and earned a decent amount of money from it.

“Lituanica” in Energy and Technology Museum

Before meeting S. Girėnas, S. Darius hoped that it would be easier to raise money for the flight if a well-known person would fly with him. He tried to convince the celebrity of that time, the American Lithuanian Juozas Žukauskas (Jack Sharkey), who won the world heavyweight boxing champion title. However, J. Žukauskas was afraid of the challenge and refused to fly. Only then did S. Darius remember his acquaintance with S. Girėnas, a pilot who had 1200 hours of flight experience.

From July 14th on the roof terrace of Energy and Technology Museum, you will find an interactive replica of the “Lituanica” – after entering the small cockpit of the “Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker”, you can start the plane and assess the conditions the pilots flew in.

The project was supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Vilnius City Municipality

Partners: Vytautas the Great War MuseumLithuanian Aviation Museum and Vilnius 700

In the main picture – S. Darius and S. Girėnas at “Lituanica”, 1933. July, New York, USA. Photo courtesy of Vytautas the Great War Museum

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