The BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation proudly announced today that it has partnered with the Moscow-based Russian Aviation Company, Ltd. (RUSAVIA)—one the largest supplier of aviation parts, instruments, and equipment for Russian-built aircraft worldwide to produce the flight re-creation and documentary Warplanes to Siberia—the story about the secret delivery of nearly 8,000 military aircraft from the United States to the Soviet Union during World War II along the Alaska-Siberia Air Route (ALSIB). The route is approximately 6,000 miles (9,700 kilometers) long and runs from Great Falls, Montana through Canada and Alaska, across the Bering Strait, and through Siberia to Krasnoyarsk, Russia. As part of the Lend-Lease program under the Roosevelt administration, it was one of the great logistical efforts of the 20th century and a major supply route to the Soviet Union. To this day, the majority of the world has never heard of it or knows of the vital role it played during the war.
Jeff Geer, BRAVO 369’s president and executive director, said “the partnering with RUSAVIA will allow us to tell the story of ALSIB from both the United States and Russian perspectives. This project is historically significant in that it will draw global attention to not only the untold story of ALSIB but it will shed light on the friendship and mutual cooperation between our two great nations that existed both then and now.” What makes RUSAVIA such an ideal partner is they share the same passion for education, aviation history, and the restoration and conservation of historic warplanes.
According to Sergey Baranov, RUSAVIA’s general director, “(2015) – The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, or the Great Patriotic War as it is known in Russia, promises to be a landmark event. This is the last major commemoration that will be attended by veterans who served in the war. It is our chance to say goodbye and pay honor to the last of these brave men and women. Warplanes to Siberia (ALSIB 2015) will tell their story and, as such, deserves to be supported.” He continued “It is a worthy undertaking that will help bring together the people of Russia and the United States by reminding us all of the shared sacrifice and cooperation in World War II.” RUSAVIA will also secure all necessary permissions from the Russian government and military to fly the ALSIB route and then continue on to Moscow.
Geer said “What makes our project so special is we are actually re-creating the flight using same vintage aircraft types that flew the route 70 years ago. Our goal is to be as historically and technically accurate as possible. A project of this magnitude cannot be achieved by one person, one organization, or one country acting alone. This is why the partnership with RUSAVIA is so vital. ”
The BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation and RUSAVIA will be presenting the Warplanes to Siberia project to an international audience during the Mutual Concerns Conference at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC on April 14, 2014.
In 2015, the combined flight team will fly the entire ALSIB route as part of a joint formation across Siberia and beyond, and then participate in the International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS-2015) celebrating the end of World War II in Europe. Geer, who will be leading the U.S. flight segment, said “This will be the first time that a joint Russian and U.S. team will be making the flight to Krasnoyarsk and Moscow together. During World War II, U.S. pilots delivered the aircraft to Fairbanks, Alaska and then then the Soviet pilots took the aircraft from there to Krasnoyarsk along the ALSIB route. It is as large of a logistical effort now as it was then to move aircraft and crews over long distances with difficult terrain and flying conditions.”
Geer concluded “We are truly honored to be working with RUSAVIA. Together we will re-create and document this historical event so that it can be shared and preserved for future generations.”