Browse Old Site
Skip to Content


This site is a collection point for images and information about Latvian aviation, 1918–1940.

When the Soviet Union disintegrated, historical material previously kept from the public began to re-appear. Perhaps most interesting of all, this included old photographs of Latvia's first airmen, their aircraft, and Latvia's earliest aerodromes.

I began purchasing and collecting these photos. I eagerly read everything I could about the subject, and the very scarcity of this material made the pursuit exciting. Eventually, I realized that I had accumulated a modest collection of images, many of them originals which, stored in my drawers, were unavailable to others with a similar interest. More and more it seemed to me that this is a disservice to other such enthusiasts. So, I bought a book about web page design, and set about creating a public forum for this material. Since that time, my photos have been supplemented by images from many other sources as well. —GDZ

The "Swastika"

Ugunskrusts Image

Let us deal with this issue right off the top.

You will notice that many of the aircraft depicted on this site carry the insignia commonly known as the Swastika. I am very aware of the painful association which many of us have with this symbol. Please understand that the symbol had a history and usage which dates from long before the nazis co-opted it. In Latvia, it was called the Ugunskrusts (which translates as "fire cross"), symbol for the deity Perkons (Thunder). The swastika was a positive cultural symbol for milennia before the first Nazi was born. The Latvian aviators adopted this symbol in 1919 and continued to use it until 1940. Finland also adopted the swastika—and continues to use it to this day.

The swastika appears here in this historical context only.

It would be a great error for the reader to infer any political statement from its inclusion here.


The following outlines and organizes our content to guide your reading. If you are searching for an overview ("Pioneers") or particular individuals or events, use our menu across the top for quick access.


Pre-1919 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925
1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933
1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 Post-1940





Latvian Aviators in World War II


Latvian Text

This site, for the time being, is written in English only. However, it is inevitable that Latvian names and key words will occasionally appear here. The written Latvian language uses a character set which includes slight modifications of English language characters. As many computers are not equipped to reproduce these characters, I will simplify the text by using the regular English language characters without the modifications. Latvians will have no difficulty 'interpreting' the simplified text, and non-Latvians will not miss them in the first place. It is my hope, in the future, to add a Latvian version of this site.

Internet Beacon Award It is with deep sadness that we share the news that Gunars passed away on March 22, 2010. He will be mourned and missed by the many whose lives he touched with his passion and talents. LATVIANS.COM is supporting the continued web presence of Gunars' work in tribute to his memory. Please contact us at to continue to support and build on this valuable and truly unique archive.

LATVIANAVIATION.COM contents copyright © 2016 Gunārs Zūlis and heirs. All Rights Reserved.
Contributors of individual materials retain all rights to their collections and creative works.

Design and hosting by [Clear-and-Simple] · Chicago · New York