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1938 Flight of the Rodina

1938 Moscow:  Marina Raskova, Valentina Grizodubova, and Paulina Ossipenko board their Soviet aircraft, the Rodina, to embark upon what many believe to be a suicide mission.   Stalin wanted to prove to the world Soviet superiority.  The three female pilots blaze new trails in the Siberian skies, a flight on par with Lindbergh's Atlantic crossing. 


The distance, 3,693 miles in a straight line,  is covered in 26 hr 29 min. and betters the international women's non-stop distance record by more than 900 miles.  A new air route from Moscow to the dangerous and remote tundra of Southeastern Siberia is opened. 

During the course of the mission, overcast skies completely obscure all visual landmarks, leaving radio signals as the only means of orientation.  A miscalculation of the tiniest fraction means a certain icy death.  When the radio ceases transmitting the pilots are forced to continue, eventually to run out of fuel being forced to land in the frozen taiga.  


The courage and stamina of these women capture the imagination of the people intently following the progress of the rescue efforts.  The pilots return triumphantly via the Trans Siberian Railroad with a celebration at every stop.  Cheering crowds greet them in Moscow as they parade past 30 ft portrait banners lining Red Square.   

Feted worldwide, these aviatrixes receive thier country's highest medal of honor, the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union. The 1938 flight remains an event of great national significance today.

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