BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation to retrace and document secret air route to Russia
The BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation announced today the formal release of its promotional film preview “Warplanes to Siberia” outlining the story of the top secret Northern and Alaska-Siberia Air Routes and the incredible effort that delivered nearly 8,000 military aircraft from the United States to the former Soviet Union during World War II.
Jeff Geer, President and Chairman of the BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation said, “We will be flying vintage World War II era North American T-6 Texan aircraft retracing the 6,000-mile air route from Great Falls, Montana to Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Created as part of the Lend-Lease Act of 1941, the route was the catalyst for the Alcan Highway to support the ferrying effort. Very few people have ever heard of this secret route and the transfer of warplanes to the Soviets who were waiting in Fairbanks to fly them on to Siberia.”
“Aeroclassic Productions,” under the direction of the BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation, in association with Family History Videos and Pedal Power Productions, will be producing a fact-based, multi-part feature documentary that will be marketed for distribution to domestic and international television and cable networks.
According to Geer, “We will be interviewing surviving veterans who participated in the ALSIB program, visiting museums and local newspaper archives, and flying the actual route to accurately tell this fascinating story to keep the history alive.” Geer was recently invited to attend an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Alaska-Siberia aircraft ferrying program in Yakutsk, Russia. “The Russians have embraced the historic significance of our flight project, and not only recognize, but celebrate the mutual cooperation of the Soviet Union, the United States, and Canada during the war. I’m receiving e-mail from Russians who are very interested and supportive of the project,” Geer said.
When asked about the undertakings of such a flight, Geer responded, “There are a number of challenges the foundation has with a flight of this magnitude. The largest of which is financial. We are seeking corporate sponsors and donors to help with the expenses of aircraft operation, documentary production, and our educational program. Don’t get me wrong, a 6,000 mile flight to Russia in vintage military aircraft is challenging enough, but the foundation will need financial support to make this a successful mission.” Geer went on to say that corporate sponsors can expect extensive domestic and international media brand exposure throughout the duration of the project and will be permanently documented on film.
According to Geer, “Our goal is to make this historic flight interactive and available to everyone, especially students. We are incorporating a new technology currently under development called “InFlightXT” (Interactive Flight Experience Technology). This interactive, real-time application is part of our commitment to bring an educational aspect into the flight.”
As part of the 2013 test flight to Great Falls, Montana and up into Canada and Alaska along the Northern Aircraft Ferrying Route, the BRAVO 369 flight team will hold project kickoff events at airfields and air museums along the flight route and feature a short documentary on the project. The public and media will have the opportunity to meet the air crew, look at the aircraft, and learn more about the significance of Lend-Lease
and the Alaska-Siberia Air Route as well as the flight re-creation project.
Joining Geer on the 2013 and 2014 flights will be Alan Anders, Director of Maintenance and Operations at the Heritage Flight Museum, Bellingham, Wash. “I’ve chosen Alan to lead our flight operations during these two missions due to his extensive Warbird and flight lead experience,” Geer said. Joining the project as technical advisor and consultant is Merrill Wien. “Known for his lifetime of flying experience as an Alaska bush, commercial, and military pilot, as well as a rich family heritage with Wien Air Alaska, Merrill brings incredible depth and expertise to the program,” Geer said. Reflecting on questions received about the purpose of the Russia flight and upcoming documentary film 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 re-creation and demonstrates how ordinary people can achieve
extraordinary things through leadership, cooperation, and a common goal.”