Aviators
K

KOLUZS, JANIS

  • Born in Latgale.
  • December, 1934 - is a member of the Jelgava glider pilot group which had already learned to fly before the Jelgava Glider School was officially established. As such, they were listed as the first graduates of the program. He subsequently was accredited as a glider pilot instructor, working out of the Central Gliding school in Riga..
  • 1936 - graduates from flight school.
  • March 23, 1937 - assigned to the 8th Reconnaissance Squadron (Naval).
  • 1938 - on the roster of the 1st Fighter Squadron, he is flying the new Gloster Gladiators. (Rank: Corporal)
  • August 21, 1938 - participates in the Aviation Festival at Riga/Spilve.
  • May, 1940 - he is released from his position with the Riga Central Glider School as his military duties are requiring too much of his time to permit him to continue as a gliding instructor.
  • 1940 - now on the roster of the 2nd Fighter Squadron. They had surrendered their Gloster Gladiators to the 3rd Squadron and were training on the VEF/Irbitis I-15 and I-16, preparing to take posession of Messerschmidt 109s which were being ordered from Germany but never actually arrived. Pilot Emils Briedis tells of an occasion when they were in the Irbitis 2-seater with Koluzs at the controls. Right after takeoff at Spilve the engine malfunctioned and Koluzs had to make an immediate forced landing. Showing great skill, he slowed the aircraft to a minimum speed, bounced it off the roof of Strautniek's automobile (parked behind the hangar) and brought the plane to a halt with minimal damage. Strautnieks was less than pleased, but both aviators escaped without even a bruise.
  • 1940 - 1941 - When the Soviets occupy Latvia, he is initially employed as a pilot in the non-military air service, flying in Latvia. This would include duties such as flying ambulance aircraft, communications flights and a limited number of scheduled flights between major urban centres.
  • 1941 - he is transferred to similar flying duties but, being fluent in Russian, now within the Soviet Union. He receives training to upgrade his skills, and is assigned to fly a captured Estonian JU-52 in Novosibirsk.
  • Eventually, the Soviets arrested Koluzs and sent him to Siberia.

    Sources

    Briedis, Emils Latviesa Stasts
    Bruvelis, Edvins Latvijas Aviacijas Vesture

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