Lithuania 10 Litu banknote 1993 Lithuanian pilots

Lithuania banknotes 10 Litu banknote 1993 Lithuanian pilots: Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas
Lithuania 10 Litu banknote 1993 airplane
Banknotes of Lithuania 10 Litu banknote 1993
Bank of Lithuania - Lietuvos Bankas

The obverse of the 10 litų banknote features Lithuania heroes, Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas. In 1933 they flew from New York over the Atlantic Ocean with a small plane called Lituanica. However, the plane mysteriously crashed in Germany (now Poland). The duo did not survive. The reverse depicts Lituanica flying over the Atlantic Ocean with visible shores of the North America and Europe.

Banknotes of the Lithuanian litas
Bank of Lithuania - Lietuvos Bankas
1991 Issue

10 Litu      20 Litu      50 Litu      100 Litu

1993-1994 Issue
1 Litas      2 Litai      5 Litai      10 Litu      20 Litu      50 Litu  

1997-2000 Issue
10 Litu      20 Litu      50 Litu      100 Litu      200 Litu      500 Litu

2001-2007 Issue
10 Litu      20 Litu      50 Litu      100 Litu

Lithuania heroes, Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas
Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas were Lithuanian pilots, emigrants to the United States, who made a significant flight in the history of world aviation. On July 15, 1933, they flew across the Atlantic Ocean, covering a distance of 3,984 miles (6,411 kilometers) without landing, in 37 hours and 11 minutes (107.1 mph). In terms of comparison, as far as the distance of non-stop flights was concerned, their result ranked second only to that of Russell Boardman and John Polando, and ranked fourth in terms of duration of flight at the time. Although Darius and Girenas did not have navigational equipment and flew under unfavorable weather conditions, the flight was one of the most precise in aviation history. It equaled, and in some aspects surpassed, Charles Lindbergh's classic flight. Lituanica also carried the first Transatlantic airmail consignment in history.

Lituanica was a Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker airplane flown from the United States across the Atlantic Ocean by Lithuanian-American pilots Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas in 1933. After successfully flying 6,411 km, it crashed, due to undetermined circumstances, 650 km from its destination, Kaunas, Lithuania.

On June 18, 1932, the pilots purchased the Pacemaker airplane, serial no. 137, registered as NC-688E, from the Pal-Waukee Company for $3,200. First produced and flown in 1929, forty units of the CH-300 Pacemaker were eventually built. It was a single-engine, six-seat, high-wing monoplane. The fuselage was welded chromoly steel tubing covered with fabric. The cabin interior was covered with a sound-absorbing material. The fuselage had side and top windows, with doors on both sides. The wings were of wooden construction, with two spars, also fabric-covered. The spars and ribs were made of spruce strips and plywood. The wings had two gasoline tanks with a total capacity of 88 US gallons (333 L). Wing struts were 2/3 wood, 1/3 steel (at the wings) with aero-dynamic steel ribs, fabric-covered, giving an additional 47 ft² (4.4 m²) lifting surface. Tail surfaces were made of welded steel tubing. The horizontal stabilizer was of spruce strips and plywood, with the trim-angle adjustable in flight. The landing gear was a curved steel bar with rubber rope suspension. Wheels 30 × 5 inches (762 by 127 mm). The engine was a Wright J6, radial, air cooled, 9 cylinders, 300 hp (225 kW). Funds for the plane was raised from numerous Lithuanian clubs and organizations, including air shows.

On January 20, 1933, the aircraft was moved to E.M. Laird workshops at 5321 W. 65th St. in the Clearing Industrial District, Chicago, where she was rebuilt and made suitable for the transatlantic flight. New elongated wings were built, with two additional gasoline tanks installed in the fuselage, having 220 and 185 US gallon capacity, each equipped with emergency dump valves. Beneath the pilot's seat a 25 US gallon oil tank was outfitted with 12 cooling tubes. A longer horizontal stabilizer was built. Aero-dynamic wheel pants were installed, and the fuselage received a new fabric covering. A new, higher compression engine, 365 hp (272 kW) Wright Whirlwind J6-9E, ser. No. 12733, had a "speed ring". On March 29, 1933, the rebuild was complete, and the registration number was changed to NR-688E, and the aircraft was painted orange. On both sides of the fuselage scrolls with the names of the sponsors were painted. The aircraft was dubbed "Lituanica" (Lithuania in Latin).

An ordinary unmodified plane of this size cannot cover a comparable distance (the Cessna 152, for instance, has a range of 1200 km), even today. The flight was also important from a scientific and technological perspective, as it explored air flows and the capabilities this type of aircraft. In their last letter, the pilots wrote that either a successful flight or a possible catastrophe would be valuable and significant enough and hence it is worthwhile to fly in either case.

After taking off from Floyd Bennett Field in New York on July 15, 1933, 6:24 AM EDT, Darius and Girėnas successfully crossed the Atlantic, only to perish on July 17, 0:36 AM (Berlin Time) by the village of Kuhdamm, near Soldin, Germany (now Pszczelnik, near Myślibórz, Poland).( 52°51'11.57"N 14°50'17.78"E ) The planned route was: New York - Newfoundland - Atlantic Ocean - Ireland - London - Amsterdam - Swinemünde - Königsberg - Kaunas airport (a total of 7,186 km). Due to weather conditions over Ireland, they veered to the north and reached Germany via Scotland and the North Sea. In 37 hours and 11 minutes, until the moment of the crash, they had flown 6411 km (over 7000 km in actual flight path), only 636 km short of their goal — Kaunas.

A Lithuanian board of investigation was appointed to determine the cause. It concluded that the pilots were properly qualified, and the aircraft was properly outfitted. They added that the most difficult part of the flight was executed with great precision. The commission concluded that during the crash the aircraft engine was running (the propeller was rotating), and there was enough fuel on board.

Some sources mention pilot error, but both pilots were highly experienced. During his career as pilot, Darius had never been involved in any previous accidents. In 1931, Girėnas had won first prize in a flight festival in Chicago for gliding his plane and landing with a dead engine.

According to the board, the catastrophe occurred due to difficult weather conditions combined with engine defects. The crash most probably was a result of failed emergency landing. There were rumors and suspicions in some quarters, that the plane was shot down, having been mistaken for a spy plane, because it flew near a concentration camp. Autopsies of pilots revealed no signs of bullets. However, not all parts of the plane were returned to the Lithuanian government.