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Air Warfare School Guild Anniversary 2003

[ Aaro Siro on Hurricane | Pentti Aro on War in Lapland | Professor Erkki Palosuo and PLeLv 42 (=Bombing Flight Squadron) | Memories of the 42, stories of Blenheim flights | Fatalists | Oippa Tuominen's Mannerheim Cross | Flying Low | Raiding Russian airfields and bombing flights during the summer war | Tall Jimmy and peace time flight | Credits ]

Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro. Photo: Finnish Virtual Pilots Association.
Aarno Siro and Pentti Aro
The Air Warfare School Guild's annual meeting and celebration was arranged at the Air Force Air Warfare School at Kauhava in May 24th-25th, 2003. Jukka "Grendel" Kauppinen and Olli "OK" Korhonen of the Virtual Flight Squadron Icebreakers took part on behalf of the Virtuaalilentäjät ry.

During the occasion, we interviewed veterans and actively discussed with Aaro Siro, who flew Fiat G.50, Hurricane and Brewster in Fighter Squadron (HävittäjäLentoLaivue) 26 and Pentti Aro, Blenheim pilot in the Bomber Squadron (PommitusLentoLaivue) 42.

The conversations were quite informal.

Interview: Jukka O. Kauppinen "Grendel" and Olli Korhonen "OK".
Recording, transcription and photos: Jukka Kauppinen

English translation: Lt(jg) Markku Herd, Finnish Navy.

Aro, Pentti Vihtori
b. Mar 29, 1922
Finnish Flight Badge #1022
Awarded March 23, 1943
Training: Beginning Pilot Course #11, Oct 28, 1940 ->
Service: PommitusLentoLaivue 42

Siro, Aarno Into Immanuel
b. April 10, 1919
Finnish Flight Badge #983
Awarded Oct 5, 1942
Training: Beginning Pilot Course #10, Jul 1, 1940 ->
Service: HävittäjäLentoLaivue 26

Aaro Siro on Hurricane

Aaro Siro tells of the Hurricane fighter and operating with it. Emphasis is on Siro's interception flights from the Malmi base during 1943.

Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association Aaro Siro:
The plane wasn't properly designed for wartime action. It had all the radio compasses, artificial horizons and such. But when there was a scramble, a mechanic had to open the oxygen valve for me. It was under a hatch behind the cockpit. The Brewster had the valve right here (gestures, in the cockpit at arms reach).

(Once) when I was in hurry for intercept I told the mechanic to forget it (turning the oxygen on), there's no time. Just close the canopy, I'm going like this. I had to be careful not to fall asleep, when flying at 5,000 meters without oxygen.

Pentti Aro:
We photographed (with the Blenheim) at 7,500 meters. Escort planes, Moranes and even Curtisses, couldn't reach that altitude but flew under.
We were educated on what happens when you run out of oxygen. You don't notice it. They did a test with us on the effects of altitude, we had to write down numbers. I thought it was going fine, then suddenly my head dropped. Later when I looked at the paper, the last numbers were only straight lines. Couldn't make anything out of it.

I was lucky once... it was a scramble from the side runway at Malmi. I was in a hurry, the runway was icy from freezing drizzle. I throttle up, the takeoff was a bit difficult but I kept pulling up until I could take the gear in. Then it of course picked up speed. I climbed to five thousand to check the situation, then came back.
I swerved like this, coming down in spiral dive, I didn't feel like doing a normal landing. I was going to throttle down and pull the nose up to cool the engine. Then I noticed the wheel brake switch in the middle of the stick. Oops, I had brakes on. Had I landed like that, it'd have crashed, somersaulted. I'm sitting here only because I saw they were on.

- At a scramble, you climbed to five thousand over a certain spot?
All planes used the lighthouse at Söderskär as waypoint, Fiats and Hurricanes both. We got situation briefing there, the route and what we could expect out there.

Further information: Finnish lighthouses - Söderskär.

Aarno Siro's combat flights with the Hurricane

HC-460 = 7 flighs
HC-452 = 4 flighs
HC-454 = 4 flighs
HC-456 = 3 flighs
Total 18 HC combat flights

- Could you describe one scramble?
We sat at the end of runway 18 with two Fiats always when the sky was clear. Everything was prepared, planes and mechanics. Planes were kept warm in winter. Then when the phone rang, a mechanic pushed the valve – Fiat was started with compressed air – and started the engine. After they pulled the air hose off, we took off immediately. It took little over a minute at most.

We always used Fiats when on watch, otherwise we flew Hurricanes.

Once I had arrived at Malmi and took off on a practice flight with a Hurricane. It was a clear, cloudless winter day. Once airborne, I noticed a condensation trail coming from south. I pushed the throttle on max inches and pulled up. I was in the middle of the Gulf of Finland before that Pe-2.
Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association Then AA opened fire at it.
I remembered one Sunday when I had been in Helsinki on a leave. I was visiting Maukka Beckmän in Töölö, when there was a sudden explosion. It was in the park at Erottaja. One Pe-2 had dropped a bomb and hit a line in front of theater. Many died there. (Nov. 8, 1942; 28 dead, 90 injured -Ed.)
Remembering that, I wouldn't let this one over Helsinki. AA listened to the radio all the time, so I informed them that their blasts were too low and too late. Later that night I met the repulse commander, he said it was nice to hear the results live from the business end.

The Pe-2 turned tail and ran. I tried to get close, but it wouldn't let me. It just turned east and ran for it. Even if my plane was the fastest the Air Force had, a Hurricane, I couldn't keep up the pace.
- It was ahead and above?
It was almost at the same altitude, when it turned and ran.

- The HC didn't have the climbing ability for this kind of scramble missions? (Editor's note: the capital of Helsinki was located right next to sea, so the warning of inbound enemy planes was often late and the Hurricane lacked climb rate for these missions)
That's true, yes. Compared to what the Russians had, the Hurricane and the Fiat were already obsolete planes. And the Yankees gave them fine planes, they got even the Mustang. If you want to cope, you should have good equipment.

Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association - You mentioned "full inches" when telling of the scramble?
The HC had a Rolls Royce 1000 hp engine with two-speed turbo.
- A supercharger?
Supercharger with two states, yes. You put on the second speed, I think it was at a bit over 2,000 meters.
It was the fastest plane in the Finnish Air Force at the time. We received ten of them and built at least one more from a captured enemy plane. Masa Laitinen crashed one into a mountain in Norway. I also flew at least one captured plane. The ones we got had four and four machine guns, the captured planes six and six. I think it even had fabric skin. Ours were covered with sheet aluminum after Aikala tore a wing and hit tarmac at Malmi.
- How did the captured plane feel like? It was heavier (than a normal 8 gun Hurricane), wasn't it?
I didn't notice much difference.

- Did you fly a fabric-skin Hurricane?
Aro: In the mechanic school, we were taught how to patch them.
Siro: I flew them, they were a little nimbler. But then they all got aluminum skins, it was tougher. But they became second-line fighters, we had no more than three or four Hurricanes at Kilpasilta.

- It never really had proper climbing ability against fast enemy planes on these missions, did it?
No, Hurricane was never a proper interceptor.
The Fiat was an interceptor, but it was already getting obsolete. And it had only 1h 15min operation time.

Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association - If you could reach the altitude, could a Hurricane catch the enemy?
No, not a chance. I wonder why it ran. It didn't come over mainland at all, it turned towards mid-Gulf.
- Was this when you got to fire at a Pe-2?
No, I didn't shoot, it was too far away. I got to fire on another flight.
- So how was this case when you got to fire with a HC?
Not a HC, I never got to firing range with a Hurricane. It was a Brewster!
- I read once that it was specifically Aarno Siro who got to fire at a Pe-2 with a Hurricane.
I didn't, not that I can recall. And I don't believe my memory could fail me that bad.

(Carl-Erik Bruun's book Hävittäjälentolaivue 26 mentions on January 3, 1943: "Siro got to fire at a PE-2 with the HC-460, but it was faster even when the HC was flying over 530 km/h." -Ed.)

I remember it was Brewster. I was patrolling between Pitkäranta and Ägläjärvi-Tolvajärvi in a group of four or five. I don't remember who was in charge, but he told me to go and check out some long-nosed planes in the north. I did, they were our own Moranes. On my way back I noticed I was all alone, damn it. The cloud cover was close. I started to climb up, thinking I had no worries, my pals were close at Pitkäranta.
All of a sudden there was a flash of tracers, coming right at me. Of course I shot back. We never went for head-to-head, we usually lost those. But I pulled the trigger and, to be honest, it did no good (missed below). It circled from below and came up again (climbed from six o'clock low to a new attack). I kept an eye on it all the time, come on if you want. It came closer, and I kept turning the plane.
At the end it was so close that its trackers went right under my belly...

Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association. Photo: Finnish Virtual Pilots Association. Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association. Photo: Finnish Virtual Pilots Association. Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association. Photo: Finnish Virtual Pilots Association. Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association. Photo: Finnish Virtual Pilots Association.

Aarno Siro describes the events.

I was here, the plane passed like this, went quite low and began climbing from there. I turned a bit – waited and watched – watched until I saw the eye; saw that it couldn't hit my hull. It came closer, closer, closer, I pulled the stick just enough so it missed by that much. Had I known the pilot before, I'd have recognised him. It went so close by. Then it turned to dive to the left, and I shot a couple of good bursts after it. I think it got a couple of hits. I guess the pilot was fresh and inexperienced, or then an old colonel who hasn't seen real action.
I think it was a Yak-7. Those I have seen had dark paint scheme. But I don't know any more of it. I made no demand for a kill, I had no evidence and there was nobody to certify it. Personally I believe it dropped. Not that it really matters.

What is Your personal opinion of the Hurricane as a Finnish warplane?
Not a warplane. The Hurricane was an intermediate type, not a proper warplane for me. It was well equipped – radio compass, gyrocompass, radio equipment, everything you need. But not a real warplane.
This was my last flight from Malmi, the Messerscmitts came next. They took over Malmi. The Hurricane was said to be the fastest plane in Finland, but the Messerschmitt put an end to that. The Hurricane couldn't catch a Pe-2. But I remember when I was on watch at Kymi with a course mate. He took off with a Me and shot down a Pe-2.

Pentti Aro on War in Lapland

The Allied watch commission directed the war in Lapland. We flew as they ordered. A squadmate of mine died two months aho... Always when there was time in Värtsilä (Home base of PLeLv 42), he was studying somewhere.

Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association I have an untold story of the War in Lapland. You see, the weather was so low, I passed between two mountains. The tops were inside clouds. The area was full of Germans, who had captured Russian AA machine guns, the 'organ guns'. We flew at 20 meters and they shot at us, we were in goddamned trouble. So I went down to two meters and flew at them. You shoot me, and you'll die too! They ducked in ditches when we passed over.

When Generals' wives were killed in Lapland, it was decided that the saboteur training center in East Carelia would be bombed. We attacked with the whole regiment. It was supposed to be a surprise attack, but it wasn't. But they didn't shoot anyone down either. After we dropped our bombs, Liimatainen – he was later a teacher in Jyväskylä – took a bag of empty bottles and dropped them down.
"What are you doing now?"
"You have no idea how nicely they howl when going down."
Siro: It was fun going at a Russkie airfield and dropping a bottle, how it howled – like a falling bomb. As long as the bottle howled, the AA was quiet. Everyone was in cover.

- When did you transfer to Squadron 42?
Aro: I came directly to 42 on spring '43. It was that late. Lumiala was the squad leader. There's many stories to tell. One little bit:
Once Lumiala called us and said, can the sergeant come to the field, here's a Major from the work battalion needing lift to Karhula. I went and, the Major said he wouldn't go anywhere with a kid like that. Lumiala insisted he should. "But he doesn't even have a map or anything!"
Lumiala asked if I had a map. I pulled one from my boot, I have one right here. So the Major told me to navigate. It was a Lysander biplane, we had to go low to avoid enemy fighters. After Elisenvaara, the Major told me I was following wrong railroad. I knew better, though, and we reached Karhula airfield. He apologized to me there, said that he was a bit nervous of flying. I don't know what happened to him afterwards.
I almost got completely lost on my way back, but found the right track.

Likewise, I got to meet a girl. The HQ was a bit away, and there was a cemetery we often walked through. A girl biked past me there, coming from the HQ, and had to fix something in her bike. I gave her a hand. We had a chat, she told me that she was living alone at a cottage by lake Jänisjärvi. Let's go and eat pancakes. So we did, and about 2-3 o'clock we went to sleep. I thought we should do something and got just a little naughty with my hands... She got terribly angry and chased me away.
I did some fishing there too. I was out with a canoe for the first time and threw lure, "let's try this once too." Suddenly it tugged! I thought it was caught in a log or something, but it was a meter-long pike! Four kilos! And when it splashed with its tail, water flew over the canoe.
I pulled it to the nearest shore, a couple of hunderd meters. There was a combat photographer at the field. I still couldn't believe it was me who had caught that fish, how on earth I could pull it into canoe... A photo was taken. Viljo Lehtinen, our machine gunner, found it later in the war archives. It's a skinny looking guy holding the pike.

Professor Erkki Palosuo and PLeLv 42

- Professor Palosuo, flight commander of the 42 during the final stage of the war, often praised the ability of the pilots in the squadron.

Aro: Of course we were. Palosuo was our commander for a short time. And he preferred the SB-2 to Blenheim.
Siro: The professor's been doing research in the Antarctic, and a couple of times at Spitzbergen with a tent. His first wife was nice, I once asked her what it was like to marry a scientist. "Bah. It was a flying officer that I married!"
Aro: He felt guilty after the war, that he never suggested any promotions to you. He's trying even now, if something could still be arranged. Ellilä even asked him if he has gone completely senile. I asked one General once and he said you could have received something still.
One thing happened between us. I met him once on street at Töölö, Helsinki. He remembered a good frry hat I had had before, and he'd like to buy it. I then sent it to him, asking nothing in return. When we met five years later, he paid me 800 marks, "now this matter is settled too." It shows the true officer spirit.
Siro: We're two Warrant Officers...
Palosuo was a real father figure.

- Palosuo has told us of Summer 1944. The flight followed his lead plane in tight formation, it was like having a parade on a combat mission.
Wonder which flight it was? Palosuo came pretty late to our group, he was in amphibious flying squadron. Really fatherly person. We were looking at Chief Warrant Officer Salminen's wife, and he told us to keep our hands off.
Siro: Wouldn't be the first time to pull a stunt. Once I was flying on Larjo's wing, and he told me to come closer and closer. I did, and in the end we were flying wing over wing. Practising for the parade we'd have, in case the war ended.

Memories of the 42, stories of Blenheim flights

Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association Aro: The landing at Tuulos, when the Russians tried to attack there and we bombed them. We were on our way home. The 42 was at Naarajärvi by that time, only fighters left at Värtsilä. I saw two falling spots over Lake Ladoga. It was no hallucination, those were fighters. Pentti Partanen, my navigator, told me to calm down – we were almost at homebase. But I was on my toes. I see those damn fighters coming at us, but the others don't believe and tell me to calm down, we're on our side of the frontier.
Suddenly Pentti calls out that there's a fighter at our six.
I had expected it and circled around a hill. I saw them take positions behind Aho and Alava. They took their targets out, only the pilots survived from either plane. The navigator and gunner were killed instantly in one, the other's navigator tried to bail but his chute was caught in the tail. Only Aho and Alava got out alive. Had they believed me, it might not have happened. But no. This may sound I'm apologizing for myself, but that's how it went.
This married man (one of the casualties) was dating with a girl from Pieksämäki. She called then, I guess the guys were expecting her to. It was sort of funny when she insisted that "he promised to come over tonight" and wouldn't comprehend that he had been shot down. That's how it was at that time.

When we were running, one fighter came after us in an angle we couldn't shoot back. But he just waved at us, guess he was out of ammo. Only waved.

(Aug 1st, 1944, two Blenheims from PLeLv 42 were shot down: the BL-160, with Alava / Kaukovalta / Rosendahl, and the BL-158 with Aho / Rouhiainen / Kemppinen. The bombers were on their way back from bombing bridges at Vuontele. More in the interviews with Kauko Aho. -Ed.)

Link to the incident: Kauko Aho interview.

- So you took the plane down to the deck?
Yes, I didn't run, I circled and saw what happened. You see, the Blenheim is damn easy to fly low, the glass nose helped. You could go literally in treetops.
Siro: When we were at Vesivehmaa in the augmentation squad, the guys flew as low as they dared. And Blenheims went under them. Tall Jimmy told how he brought someone from Pori, he put him in the nose. And the plane flew so close the man kept lifting his feet.

- How was flying the Blenheim like?
Aro: Had it had proper armament, you could have gone into dogfights with it. Really, with the slide and all, no problems there.
It had only two MG's, but it really could... as Katajisto said, it could have done miracles with better guns. But it brought me safely home.
- But with empty load? Not so maneuverable with bombs?
No, but without bombs it was. Once we were flying recon, straight from Solomanni to Archangel railroad. Long way. We were supposed to photograph the lakes at 5,000 meters, probably for rangers to use. No one was gave ny better advice, so I began to gather altitude right over Lake Ääninen. At 3,000 meters there were two IL's. Willberg (Stig Willberg -Ed.) asked what I thought about it, should we run? Solomanni was right behind us, at left.
But we ran east. I trusted our machine gunner, Leino, as we went down to the deck. The Blen performed really well. The fighters didn't come after us. As we flew, we saw hundreds of meters of log buildings with thatch roofs. On our way back we dropped incendiaries there. I thought it was a bit unfair and there'd be trouble after the war. I spoke of it only after the watch commission had left.


Siro: Isn't our attitude rather fatalistic?
Aro: It was great at that age, you couldn't imagine your own death.
Siro: We were just sitting around waiting for the phone to buzz and when it did, we took off. But if an outsider had been watching us, I think he wouldn't have guessed that those guys are off to fight. We just casually boarded our planes, without thinking much of it.
Larjo was our commander when we got the Brewsters in Spring '44. Then came Katajainen and another guy to teach us. The field was a low, grassy slope and we were down there with our planes. Larjo asked Nipa if the Brewster was sensitive to crosswinds. "Well yes, you should be careful, we should go a bit higher and start from there." The phone rang and we all took off from where we happened to be at the moment. Later we talked if anyone had taken off where we were supposed to. "Me neither," Larjo admitted.

- How was it to switch from Fiat to Brewster?
Not very special. I've flown twenty different plane types in the air force, I'm used to it.

Oippa Tuominen's Mannerheim Cross

Aro: The award came with a sum of 50 000 Marks, and Oippa went to spend it (in a restaurant). There was a Colonel with his dame. The Colonel told them to "tell that Chief Warrant Officer not to wear some markmanship medals in his chest." He didn't recognize the Mannerheim Cross! The Colonel's pride came down a couple of notches that day.
Oippa always wore his better uniform on missions. When he was shot down over the Gulf of Finland, shot down from so close that the shooter fell too, his suit shrank "this much".

When the war began, 14 Russian bombers raided Joroinen. Guys went after them and shot many of them down. Oippa comes and tells "I scored over there." "Bullshit," said Harju. But Oippa made a mark on the map, and sure enough, the scraps were brought back from there. "Damn Tuominen," said Harju, "he lies like a horse and when you go and find out about it, it's suddenly true."

Jimi told of how they were in Immola when Oippa was awarded the Cross. He had heard of it in advance, and now was lying in his bed. "Open the radio, guys, there's news." And the newscaster read, "Commander-in-Chief has awarded Oiva Tuominen..." They went, "Oippa, Oippa, you got the Cross!" and Oippa replies lazily, "Just put it there in the desk locker, willya?"
Aro: Wasn't Oippa the first pilot to receive the Mannerheim Cross?
Ville Vikkelä, a docks manager, said that if you ever need a job, come to talk and he'd arrange something. I don't know if Oippa went to the docks, he certainly couldn't adapt to life as civilian any more. Fortunately there was a techer in Nummela who got Oippa to settle down. Then came the call from her, that Oippa was supposed to go somewhere by car but it didn't move, he just sat there. That's how he died.

Flying low

Aro: Germans ruined the airfield at Kemi. They put a bomb in every sewer drain, perhaps even 1,000 kg bombs. The place was reduced to swamp. I flew only eight war missions in Lapland, the war there was given to conscripts and all others were released from duty. It was one of the peace conditions. I was involved in the war repercussion business and the Russians had weird interpretations of the agreements.

Siro: When the second war broke, the Fiats were in Joroinen and the Moranes at Rantasalmi. Enska Kivinen(Commander of the 1st Flight of LLv 26, Lieutenant Ensio Kivinen), our boss, told us to go patrolling to Rantasalmi. Lasse and Oippa went there. Later, Enska asked Lasse, "Were you low?" "No, I was higher. Oippa was below." "Oippa, did you go low?" "Nnooo, I didn't." "Why not?" "There were horses in the way."

Aro: We did photographing flights from Nurmoila to the Aunus Isthmus. The base had one Blen. But a Russian fighter pilot pulled quite a stunt and shot the Blen in the belly, on the field. He can't have flown higher than one meter to get to shoot like that. A fighter pilot of ours, a guy called Nissinen, was called there and he got to shoot the Russkie down. Nissinen died in a freak accident. Our guys flew above the clouds and the fighters below, and one plane fell right on him.

Raiding Russian airfields and bombing flights during the summer war

Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association Aro: The Air Force had weak leadership. The only smart thing was when Helsinki was bombed. Our regiment followed the Russian bombers on their way home and bombed their fields when they landed. That made sense to me.
Siro: You know, when we manned the base at Isthmus, we put hooded lanterns along the runway. So if you had damaged planes, we'd open the hoods. We stayed up all night waiting for you.
Aro: When all Russian planes were down, the Finns dropped their bombs. I wasn't on those missions.
Siro: They even used captured Russian planes and flew in formation with them. SB-2's.

Siro: I was on one mission with a hundred planes. First JK's, the Blen's, then Dorniers and all.

Aro: When the Russians attacked, our guys were bombing their tanks with the whole regiment. I wasn't on that mission, I was at the base listening to the radio. An order came to pull the regiment back, our side was holding the target. And I knew our guys weren't listening any more. Then they return, "damn it went well." But when they heard their target had been on our side, it got rather gloomy. Until the HQ sends thanks the following day, the Russians had captured the target again just before the raid came, and their advance was halted. It was a matter of hours!

Tall Jimmy and peace time flight

Siro: I remember being with Tall Jimmy at Malmi, before moving to Seutula. The DC-3 lands, Jimmy was the pilot's mate. When the plane stops, a female voice says "time of landing this-and-that." Soon the door opens and Jimmy is the first to come out and see what the speaking woman looks like.

Aro: We practised SBAAGE landings at Malmi (??).

It was an approach where you had to be at certain altitude near the runway, so all you needed was close the throttle to land.
Siro: Instrument landing was the first solution to landing at bad weather. See runway 18-36: there's a house a bit away, where our signalman was. A plane was instructed by radio to turn here. When the plane flew over the beacon, they knew how far from the runway it was. If they saw the ground, they landed. If not, they flew over and tried again. This was called SBAAGE landing. S B A - Standard Beam Approach.

Aaro Siro and Pentti Aro - Finnish Virtual Pilots Association. Photo: Finnish Virtual Pilots Association.
The interviewer Jukka Kauppinen with Aarno Siro and Pentti Aro at Pohjanmaa, Summer 2003.
Siro: The beam came along the middle line of the runway. Planes tried to get into the 'standard' beam line, and cut the throttle about 100 meters before runway.
Aro: The pilot followed the beeping signal. Leppänen was once so drunk that, when we flew into a cloud, he just said "nah we don't need to be so damn careful here." He bungled a landing, because he used a wood stack as a landmark for approach and once it was removed.

Siro: When the plane crossed the approach beacon, it called out 'engines!' so the pilot and all knew how far they were from the runway. The concept was developed further into Flightpath Approach, that added distance information, so when a plane was on approach, the pilot knew all the time how far it was. It was a great system.

There were four fields with SBA: Helsinki, Vaasa, Kemi, and then Malmi. Otherwise it was all by radio. Radius, distance, slope.

Aro: Oippa was there at that time. One Russian stunt pilot said him, that he was after all a Major and Oippa only a Chief Warrant Officer. Oippa's reply was something dry and sarcastic the inteviewer missed, to his eternal shame and regret.

Final words from the gentlemen:

Siro: I spent my 84th birthday flying. I flew around Porkkala with a Cessna. About a month ago. I flew myself, with only an inspector by my side.

Aro: I stopped two things once and for all: flying and smoking. I smoked my last cigarette in '77, and my flying ended at the end of the war.


The Air Warfare School Guild's annual meeting and celebration was arranged at the Air Force Air Warfare School at Kauhava in May 24th-25th, 2003. Jukka "Grendel" Kauppinen and Olli "OK" Korhonen of the Virtual Flight Squadron Icebreakers took part on behalf of the Finnish Virtual Pilots Association. On this page are discussions with Pentti Aro and Aarno Siro that were conducted there.

Interview: Jukka O. Kauppinen "Grendel" and Olli Korhonen "OK".
Recording, transcription and photos: Jukka Kauppinen
Log excerpts and summaries: Carl-Erik Bruun via Göran Bruun.

English translation: Lt(jg) Markku Herd, Finnish Navy.

Copyright VLeLv Icebreakers / Virtuaalilentäjät r.y. / Finnish Virtual Pilots Association, 2003.



Viimeksi muokattu: 2004-02-18 22:17