Synopsis by Mark Deming
Two men become rivals for the affections of the same woman against the backdrop of a training institute in this romantic comedy-drama produced in the Soviet Union. Commander Rogachev (Boris Shchukin) is the tough but knowledgeable leader of a civil aviation academy, where he attempts to turn green recruits into skilled pilots. Two of his best students are Galya (Yevgenya Melnikova), a lovely female flyer, and Sergei (Ivan Koval-Samborsky), whose talent balances out his moody tendencies. While Galya and Sergei are attracted to each other, Rogachev also finds himself falling for the beautiful female pilot -- who, to his surprise, is fond of him as well. Letchiki was the first sound feature for director Yuli Raizman; it was popular with Russian audiences upon its initial release and was revived for a retrospective on Soviet cinema at the 2000 Locarno Film Festival.