Phase One of Flight Re-creation Project Documenting Secret WWII Air Route Set to Begin
On June 24th, a North American Aviation T-6 Texan warplane will be making its way to Fairbanks, Alaska as part of a flight re-creation and documentary to tell the untold story of Lend-Lease and the Alaska-Siberia Air Route. From 1942 – 1945, the United States secretly delivered nearly 8,000 American-made warplanes to the Soviet Union via this route, otherwise known as “ALSIB”. Approximately 6,000 miles long, it runs from Great Falls, Montana up through Canada and Alaska, across the Bering Sea, into Siberia, and on to Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation pilots Jeff Geer and Alan Anders will depart Bellingham, Washington in Anders’ T-6 Texan for the 2,100 mile aerial journey to Fairbanks as part of a training mission for the much longer flight to central Russia in 2014. “The purpose of this summer’s flight is to test air crew readiness and the aircraft as well as planning and logistics for next year’s flight to Krasnoyarsk” Geer said. The crew will be equipped with a number of HD cameras to film details of the flight for the upcoming documentary “Warplanes to Siberia”. Satellite communications equipment will also be on board that will allow the public to track the flight through the web as well as BRAVO 369’s website and Facebook page.
During the war effort, approximately 177 pilots lost their lives delivering aircraft along the treacherous Alaska -Siberia Air Route. Over 1,000 Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, otherwise known as the WASP, played a key role in the delivery of these aircraft from the US factories to the staging base in Great Falls, of which, 38 women pilots were lost. “The amazing story of these women, along with the men of the 7th Ferrying Squadron and Soviet pilots, will be included in great detail in our documentary,” says Geer. “Very few people knew about this program then, let alone now. Our mission is to accurately re-create the flights as well as document and tell the story for future generations. It was one of the greatest logistical efforts of the 20th century – and a major turning point of World War II.”
Reflecting on questions about the purpose of the Russia flight and documentary Geer said, “This is a factual story about the resourcefulness, the bravery, the determination, and the dedication of thousands of men and women across three nations who suffered great hardships in an effort to save the world. Sadly, 70 years later, their story remains forgotten. ‘Warplanes to Siberia’ is a unique, new adventure-based documentary that educates through flight re-creation and demonstrates how ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things through leadership, teamwork, and a common goal. This is the story of the cooperation between the United States, Canada, and the Soviet Union during a time of global catastrophe.”
On June 22, the BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation, along with aviation historians including ALSIB and Lend-Lease subject matter experts, will present “Warplanes to Siberia” at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The public is invited to attend and will have the opportunity to meet the pilots and crew that will fly the secret WWII air route to Krasnoyarsk, Russia in 2014. The actual aircraft that the team will be flying will be on display during