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File:Captain Gregorius Radvenis.jpg

Lithuanian Air Force Captain Gregorius Radvenis

Gregorius Radvenis or Gregorius Heidrikis (November 11, 1903 in Parausiai estate, Vilkaviškis county – December 26, 1989 in Los Angeles, California) was a squadron commander in the Lithuanian Air Force. He achieved the rank of captain in 1936. He became a qualified glider pilot pioneering and promoting gliding in Lithuania and holding the first gliding records in Lithuania. He managed and taught at gliding schools.[1]


On November 22, 1922, Radvenis enlisted as a volunteer in the Lithuanian Army, where he was assigned as an air force mechanic.[2] On May 9, 1923, he joined a pilot training group. On June 30, 1925, he completed the Air Force officers' school and on September 1, he was commissioned to the rank of junior lieutenant.

In 1931, he went to the town of Rybachy on the Curonian Spit. Here he attended a German gliding school and became the first qualified category „C“ glider pilot of Lithuania. In 1932 he served as a gliding instructor at the gliding school of Pažaislis.

In 1933, the Aero Club of Lithuania invited him to lead the establishment of the Gliding School in Nida on the Curonian Spit. He received a vacation pass from the Air Force and on August 30 he traveled to Nida to take up his new duties. He supervised the construction of a hangar and taught gliding theory and practice. He accomplished the first long flights himself and thus held the initial Lithuanian record of 3 hours and 10 minutes in the air. On June 26, 1934 he improved his personal record to 5 hours and 15 minutes.[3]

In further service in the Lithuanian Air Force, besides the occasional gliding instructor assignments, his duties included management of the aircraft repair shop in Zuokniai (at the Šiauliai military airfield) and intermittent squadron commander. In 1936, he was promoted to the rank of Air Force captain.

In May 29, 1940, upon the occupation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union, he was retired to the Lithuanian military reserve. Sensing imminent danger to his life, he fled to Germany and ended up in a displaced persons camp. Later he emigrated to the USA and worked in an aircraft parts manufacturing shop in Los Angeles.


  1. Military Officers of Lithuania 1918 - 191953, Vol VI, pg.203 [Lietuvos Kariuomenės karininkai 1918 – 1953, VI tomas, 203 psl, Vilnius 2006, ISSN 1392-8929]
  2. Air Force Captain‘s Radvenis Gregor Service Record, 1940 July 31. [Karo Aviacijos Kapitono Radvenio Gregoriaus Tarnybos lapas, 1940 m. liepos mėn. 31 d.]
  3. A. Arbačiauskas, Aviacijos Sportas, žurnalo Lietuvos Sparnai priedas, 2002 lapkritis, Nr.1, 8 psl, 'Gregoras Heidrikis-Radvenis'

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