A great deal of my research has involved the Soviet fighter pilot Lydia Vladimirovna Litviak, who adopted the nickname “Liliia” (often simplified as Lily or Lilya in English). Her compelling story has generated a lot of interest, and a lot of misinformation, exaggeration, and nonsense.

I have interviewed people who knew Litviak during the war, including her mechanic Inna Pasportnikova, and I have copies of many archival materials and some of her letters. There is information about her in both my books and in my “Wings, Women, and War” article.

I’ve recently completed an article entitled “The Death of Lidiia Litviak: Rumor, Hearsay, and Evidence about the World's First Female Fighter Ace.” I’m in the process of submitting the article for publication right now (winter 2014). When the article is published, I will launch a web site I’ve created, http://www.lilylitviak.org, which will feature copies of archival materials in Russian and in translation, photos, and more.

In the mean time, please be aware that much of what you read on the web is exaggerated or simply wrong. Don’t accept anything that isn’t carefully documented (including what’s in Wikipedia). Things aren’t always true just because they’re in print, either; check the sources! Hearsay anecdotes should be taken for what they’re worth.


photo of Liliia Litviak