Moscow Russia – Aviatrissa 2004 Newsletter

Aviatrissa – Russian Women Pilots – Moscow –  2004

Elizabeth Brock, Editor


Welcome everyone to the 2nd issue of the Russian 99s Newsletter. Let me start out by thanking everyone who made the May trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg such a wonderful experience. The article about the trip from the July/August issue of our 99s international magazine has been included below, along with the Russian translation. In this issue we hear more about our Russian section members, recent events and experiences with the larger aviation community.

Immediately after our Russia tour – in fact, on the same flight back to NY! – Luba Rylova headed to the Phoenix 2004 Convention of the International Society of Women Airline Pilots. For more details, see the article below. There are several specialized organizations for women – or women and men – involved in aviation. Although many of these are based in the USA, their memberships are international in scope. The 99s are one of the oldest organizations, and require that ladies be a pilot or student pilot to join. However, as 99s we have different interests and specializations in aviation – and are often members of these other groups as well.  Occasionally through these newsletters I hope to introduce our Russian members to these other organizations. If anyone should ever like further information about one of these groups, I would be glad to help.

In June, I had the opportunity to help host the Women Soaring Pilots Association’s annual training seminar at Harris Hill in Elmira, New York. We had lady glider pilots attending from all over the USA and world, including three new members from Slovenia. Partly as a result of this conference, we have a sponsorship for up to 5 Russian lady glider pilots to join the Women Soaring Pilots Association. Valentina is helping me locate pilots interested in sharing information fromthe Russian glider community with WSPA. Thanks Valentina.

In July 2004 the 75th Annual 99s Conference was hosted by the New York-New Jersey Section in Atlantic City. Our International President serves for a term of 2-years, and this year we say thank you and farewell to out-going President Jody McCarrell who lent her support to the formation of the Russian Section. We also say congratulations and welcome to our new International President Elaine Morrow.  It was a regret of mine that the Russian Section was not represented this year in Atlantic City, and I hope we will be able to remedy situation at future conferences. The 2005 International Conference will be held August 21-26 in New Zealand.

Finally, thanks to everyone – especially translators Marina and Fidan – who contributed to and helped produce this second issue of our section newsletter. I’d like to encourage everyone who is a member or friend of the Russian 99s to send their questions, suggestions, news and articles for future editions!

With All Best Wishes –

Elizabeth Brock

Member Bios     

My name is Vicki Rulli and I am the Treasurer of the new Russian Section of the Ninety-Nines. I am a new member (Future Woman Pilot) to the Ninety-Nines and look forward to meeting more members as time goes on.

For me, flying is a hobby.  My husband and I own a 1949 Cessna-170A, but I began my training in a 90hp Supercub.   I also have taken quite a few maintenance classes and really enjoy working on aircraft as well.

I am a member of both the Ninety-Nines and Women in Aviation, International.  It was after reading about Elizabeth Brock bringing Galina Gavrilovna Korchuganova and Galina Pavlovna Brok-Beltsova to the Memphis, Tennessee in 2002, that I became acquainted with Elizabeth and offered my assistance in bringing them (and maybe others) over again in 2003 to Cincinnati, Ohio for the Women in Aviation conference.  After the conference, I offered to organize a group tour to Russia in order to keep the relationship going and to commemorate the new Russian section.

I am extremely happy to be part of this new Russian friendship as it brings together two of my favorite things – Russia and airplanes.   I studied Russian language and culture at the university and then went on to get my Master’s degree in Russian literature.  In 1988 I traveled around the Soviet Union for 30 days with a group of students and in 1994 I lived in Volgograd where I attended the university.  Since that time I have been back to Russia numerous times for both business and pleasure.

I work for the City of Columbus, Ohio (the state capital) in International Business, but live out in the country on a small farm with my husband, our chickens and our cat.  We call our house “the dacha” and hope someday soon to be able to build our own banya.  I look forward to seeing everyone again on my next trip to Russia.

My name is Marina Bouraia; I am the Secretary of the recently created Russian Chapter of the 99’s.

My interest in aviation became all-consuming in the last year of high school, when I knew I definitely wanted to fly. After graduation, my family moved to Seattle from Vladivostok, Russia, and my flying dream was put on the back burner as we settled in new environment. After college and few years of office job, I entered the aviation industry by becoming a flight attendant for a regional airline.

Few years ago I flew a trip with then First Officer Karen, who is now my flight instructor. After hearing my story about wanting to fly, she hooked me up with folks in a local flying club. I became a member and a part owner of a cute Cessna-150. Ever changing work schedules, weather and mechanical challenges made it a long journey in my private pilot training. Nevertheless, I am enjoying every moment of flying and learning, and I am enormously grateful to all my Horizon Air co-workers for all their time and coaching, for all the flying gear they passed on to me, and all their support in my training. At the moment my check ride is postponed again by yet another mechanical glitch, however, I am still hopeful and ready to meet the challenge.

I feel lucky to be involved with 99’s and Women in Aviation organization as they provide a well of knowledge and opportunities to meet inspiring people.      My name is Fidan Thornburg. I came from Russia 2 years ago. The story of my love of aviation began when I was 14 years old and my father took me to an air show in the city of Kursk. At that show I saw for the first time the most beautiful airplane in the world – the SU-27. It was gorgeous, and the sound of its jet engine will stay forever in my mind. At that moment I made a promise to myself that someday would become a professional pilot. I quickly located DOSAAF, a local military organization for sports parachuting and flying school. But I was told I would have to wait because the minimum age for  skydiving is 15 and flying gliders is 16. So as soon as I turned 16 I started parachuting and flying gliders.

Training didn’t go as fast as I wanted –  we had permanent difficulties with lack of fuel, little money and often broken airplanes. Flying was possible only in summer time. But despite these difficulties, I still appreciate all my instructors’ hard work and help. I finally soloed in the L-13 Blanik Glider. I’ll never forget that incredible feeling of my first solo flight!

Unfortunately almost afterwards the city government stopped financing our flying and opportunities to fly in that area have became very rare. I went to college and majored in economics, because trying to become a pilot, especially if you are a woman, is now almost impossible in Russia. Much of the staff at the local airport was laid off. But still I didn’t quit trying. I clearly realized that the only way to the sky was to go abroad. Last year when I visited my parents in Russia I found out that my glider flying group was completely closed. But there are still so many young people in Russia who want to fly!!!  I am really happy now that I can fly with no difficulties – except for the weather. I am on my way to getting my private pilot license in the Cessna-150. For just this season I have flown for about 60 hours.

Flying gives me such a wonderful feeling of freedom! You fly above the ground and see it all. My husband and I are traveling a lot in our airplane. We usually go to every air show in the area and recently we even flew to Canada for the international air show. I still have many things to go through, but I know that the most imBy


Elizabeth Brock, Finger Lakes Chapter of The Ninety-Nines International Women Pilot Organization.

Bobbi Roe, Greater Seattle Chapter – The Ninety-Nines Women Pilots

The new Russian Section of The Ninety-Nines was formed in February 2004. In May of this year, Vicki Rulli (FWP and Treasurer, Russian Section) led a diverse, 15-person group on a special aviation themed tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

In addition to exploring Russia’s cultural and aviation heritage, a major purpose of the trip was to build relationships between pilots and aviation organizations of both countries



Russian and American Pilots at viewing the aircraft the Russian women pilots flew in WWII.  – Monino Aviation Museum 2004

      We were a diverse group of aviation enthusiasts, including Ninety-Nines Elizabeth Brock, Finger Lakes Chapter; Bobbi Roe, Greater Seattle Chapter; Judy Stiles, Finger Lakes Chapter; and Vicki Rulli, FWP and Russia Chapter Treasurer. Other travelers were Trish Beckman, Naval Commander (ret.) and currently a Flight Test Navigator for Boeing’s Commercial Airplane Group; Vicki’s brother Dino and her father Bob; Pat and Bob Wagner, Eileen and Michael Smyser, Richard and Sue Packer and their son Rich.

The new members of The Ninety-Nines Russian section, along with other members of Aviatrissa (Russian aviation organization for women), welcomed our group with exceptional hospitality. Valentina Ivanovna Kotlyar (retired Aeroflot Pilot and Governor of the Russian Section), along with her son Vova, spent many hours planning our activities in Moscow.

Veronica Stanislavovna Aistova (FWP, 99s Russian Section) traveled 2,000 miles from Novosibirsk to meet our group and help escort us around Moscow.

       Khalide Khusyainovna Makagonova (champion aerobatic pilot, 99s Russian Section), who is the current president of Aviatrissa, and Galina Pavlovna Brok-Beltsova (WWII Navigator Pe-2), helped to organize a special reception with Aviatrissa and veterans of the women’s air regiments of the Great Patriotic War.

Galina Gabitovna Dmitrukova, retired Aeroflot pilot,  met us at the St. Petersburg train station and again saw us off with a delicious gift of Russian cakes.

Liubov Alexandrovna Rylova (retired Aeroflot pilot, 99s Russian Section) escorted us to many sites and had friends who arranged a special visit to Star City.

Russian Test Cosmonaut Nadezhda Vasilievna Kuzhelnaya (Aeroflot pilot, 99s Russian Section) met us at both the Monino Russian Air Force Museum and at Star City and made us feel welcome.

Our trip was packed full of wonderful people and amazing experiences. In Moscow we stayed at Hotel Alfa, one of four separate blocks of the Ismailovo Gamma-Delta Hotel Moscow (other blocks are Beta, Vega, and Gamma-Delta). During the 1980 Moscow Olympics the hotel complex was used to accommodate many of the athletes attending the games. The hotel overlooks Ismailosvsky park of Culture and Leisure and Moscow’s new residential area. On two evenings we watched fireworks along the river from our rooms.   Our first day in Moscow, we were met at the Monino Aviation Museum by several of the Russian women pilots, including Galina Brok-Beltsova, a navigator in WWII, and Nadezhda Kuzhelnaya, a test cosmonaut. The museum director gave us a tour of the museum, and later we walked along the flight line of the static display and took photographs of the Russian women in front of their airplanes. We later had lunch at Traktir, a western style saloon.

On Victory Day we met WWII veterans in front of the Bolshoi Theater. The Russian WWII women pilots and navigators gave us long-stemmed flowers as we all walked to the Kremlin to place flowers on the grave of Marina Raskova behind the Lenin Mausoleum. In World War II, Marina had organized three all-women combat aviation regiments (fighters, night bombers and day bombers).

Since the Chechen President was assassinated on May 9, 2004, Red Square was closed to most people. As we were escorted from the Kremlin, we stopped and waited by a large iron gate until we were taken to view the eternal flame of the Unknown Soldier. The impressive military changing of the guard was accomplished with a traditional high-stepping march, and after the new guard took position, the Russian women placed flowers on the memorial.

Next was our tour inside the Kremlin to view The State Diamond Fund – a dazzling exhibition of diamonds, gold, pearls, crowns, jewelry and state regalia primarily from Tsarist times. Entrance was generally restricted, but we were very privileged to be the invited guests of the Russian women and among only a few select people to be allowed on Red Square during the celebration for the Patriotic War.

The Zhukovsky Aviation Museum was opened by the director especially for our visit. Nikolai Egorovich Zhukovsky (1847-1921) is known as the Father of Russian Aviation. As early as 1891 he began to study the dynamics of flight, concentrating on lift and high speed aerodynamics. At the museum we were able to view his aerodynamics lab, models and wind tunnel – along with a glider Zhukovsky  had purchased from Otto Lilienthal.

In Moscow we met with WWII veterans, military women and other Aviatrissa members at a special tea reception. Joining us at the tea was Svetlana Protasova. Svetlana was trained to fly high performance jets in the 1990s and became the first Russian woman to fly the MiG-29. Like many of the other Russian women pilots, Svetlana is finding it increasingly difficult to have the opportunity to fly in her country. At this gathering gifts were exchanged and an invitation given to return next year for their Aviatrissa meeting.

Our group was also guided through the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at Star City by an official translator for the cosmonauts. We were able to view the centrifuge, simulators and water training tanks.

The trip was exceptionally successful as we met and made lasting friendships with the Russian women pilots and the young Russian interpreters who accompanied us on our excursions. Special thanks to Vicki Rulli and the Russian 99s and their friends and family who all made the trip possible!

Future plans for The 99s Russian Section include designing an exhibit for the Oklahoma City Museum dedicated to the history and accomplishments of Russian women aviators.

If you would like more information on the new 99s Russian Section or would like to receive the Russian Section newsletter, please contact Elizabeth Brock,

 Galina Gabitovna Dmitrukova (Russian section 99) bids us farewell from St.Petersburg with a gift of dessert

Enjoying a tour at the Monino Air Force Museum are Valentina Kotlyar, Russian  99s Section Governor, retired Aeroflot pilot; Tatiana Sorokina, glider pilot; Nadezhda Vasilievna Kuzhelnaya, 99, cosmonaut, Tu-134 pilot; Veronica, translator, niece of Liubov Rylova; Svetlana Kapanina, world aerobatic champion; Vicki Rulli, Russian 99s Section Treasurer; Liubov Rylova, 99, retired Aeroflot pilot; Olga Borisova, glider pilot.

The Grand Opening and dedication of the 99s Museum of Women Pilots was held on July 23, 1999. This new facility occupies the entire 2nd floor of our international headquarters building on the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. The museum is a safe and secure repository for a unique collection of papers, personal items and other historical artifacts of some of the most significant achievements and adventures of the international community of women pilots. The 99s Museum of Women Pilots will open new doors for students and scholars, writers and researchers – and play an important role in relaying not only the history of the 99s but also the history of women in aviation to future generations of pilots.

The museum trustees have done a beautiful job of displaying the artifacts, pictures, artwork and trophies accumulated over the years. Currently, most of the material is from North America and the international content needs to be enhanced. I would like to ask the members of the Russian 99s section, as well as other members of Aviatrissa, for their contributions and help in establishing a permanent Russian Exhibit for the museum. I am asking for your guidance regarding which pilots and events should be highlighted. We need artifacts (flight suits, medals, trophies, logbooks, photographs, artwork, books, newspapers and magazines) to build a display around. We should obtain photographs and prepare biographical summaries of key individuals.

I plan to donate to the museum many of the items that were so generously shared with me in May. Of course it is important that artifacts are contributed to local Russian museums.  However,  any additional or duplicate items that you can share would be greatly appreciated because the 99s Museum is meant to serve the world community of pilots. Please contact me or Valentina Kotlyar if you are able to help or have an item that you would like to donate. You may also feel free to contact the museum at any time:


99s Museum of Women Pilots

4300 Amelia Earhart Road

Oklahoma City, OK 73159

Telephone: 405-685-9990

Information about the museum may be found on the internet at:


Women’s Club of Flying Specialities “Aviatrissa”

Russia, 125167 Moscow, Krasnoarmeyskaya St., 4

About the Author


Roberta G. B. Roe Bobbi was founding publisher of Aviatrix Publishing, Inc. in 1993. She is the founding publisher and editor of Woman Pilot magazine, published in print from 1993 to 2002. Woman Pilot is continuing as a digital magazine about women aviators. Founding Board of Director of Women in Aviation International, serving six years. Bobbi is currently Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the 99 News, the official publication of The Ninety-Nines International Women Pilots Organization. She holds a private pilot certificate and instrument rating. Aviatrix Publishing, Inc. has published several books about women aviators and has documented history in books about the Women Airforce Service Pilots WWII. AWARDS: 100 Women Making A Difference in Chicago's Today Woman (magazine) 99s International President's Award - 2006 Amelia Earhart Research Scholarship Grant - awarded by the Ninety-Nines - 2012 Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame - 2013 Life Member of The Ninety-Nines International Organization - 2014

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