Memorie.al publishes the unknown stories of two foreign planes that made forced landings in the territory of the People’s Republic of Albania in 1951 and 1957. According to the testimony of Edip Ohrid, the former commander of the Albanian Air Force with the rank of colonel, the first case with foreign planes that have suffered incidents in Albania, belongs to 1951, when a pilot of the Greek military forces was flying coach over the airspace of his country, made forced landings on a small field in Delvina. The second and last case with foreign pilots who were forced to land in Albanian territory, belongs to 1957 (mid-December), when an American pilot of NATO forces with the rank of major, with his plane ” T-33” made a forced landing at Rinas airport.
“During the entire period of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, from the beginning of 1945 until the end of the ’90s, in the territory of the People’s and Socialist Republic of Albania, no foreign plane was shot down. “But two planes landed on their own: a Greek in 1951 and an American NATO plane in 1957.” This statement comes from the former Commander of the Aviation Aviation of the Albanian Army, Colonel Edip Ohri, in an interview years ago. According to the testimony of Mr. Ohrid, which is also confirmed by some ex-servicemen, veterans of the Albanian Air Force, the first case with foreign planes that have suffered incidents in Albania, belongs to 1951, when a pilot of the military forces of Greece who was making a training flight over the airspace of his country, made forced landings on a small field in Delvina.
Shortly after landing, the Greek pilot was apprehended by Albanian military forces and he told them he had made that landing after losing control. While the fate of the Greek pilot was never learned, (it is said that he disappeared, after being accused of espionage) his plane was used for some time by Albanian pilots, until it was completely destroyed.
The second and last case with foreign pilots who were forced to land in the Albanian territory, belongs to 1957 (mid-December), when an American pilot of the NATO forces with the rank of major, with his plane “T -33” made a forced landing at Rinas airport. The American pilot had started from a NATO military base installed on the outskirts of Paris, set up in the direction of Naples in Italy, but the numerous clouds that were over that city, and a breakdown that came from the collapse of an instrument (automatic radio-compass) to prevent the reduction.
Unable to land at his destination, he continued his flight through the airspace of Albania and passed over Greece. But even on Greek territory he encountered numerous clouds and bad weather, so he was forced and returned again to the airspace of Albania, to then make a forced landing at the military airfield of Rinas.
Immediately after landing, the American pilot, who was followed in flight by several Albanian planes, was interrogated by the relevant bodies of the Ministry of Interior. While the American pilot was kept isolated for two weeks in good conditions in Tirana, the Albanian Air Force reacted and described the landing of that aircraft as a great victory of our aviation.
Two weeks later, with the direct intervention of Nikita Khrushchev with Enver Hoxha, the American pilot was released and sent to Belgrade. He then traveled from Belgrade to Paris. As the American pilot returned to where he had come from, some parts of his plane were then taken to the Gjirokastra Castle Weapons Museum, which remained on display there until after the 1990s. With the skeleton of that plane, the official propaganda of that time showed all the visitors who went to that museum, “Victory over American imperialism” ./ Memorie.al