Americans plan historic flight to Siberia along lend-lease route
American association BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation has launched Warplane to Siberia, a major project to organise a mass flight to Siberia in Second World War aircraft. The pilots are planning to draw attention to the little-known yet large-scale American-Soviet cooperation during the Second World War: between 1942 and 1945, nearly 8,000 combat aircraft, piloted by both Soviet and American airmen, flew from Montana to Krasnoyarsk under their own power to be sent to the front, Sib.fm’s correspondent discovered on 6 June.
American pilots Jeff Geer and Alan Anders have started practice flights in a WW2-era American T-6 Texan fighter plane in order to prepare for the Warplane to Siberia flight, according to a post in the association’s blog.
The Warplane to Siberia project is dedicated to the most significant example of cooperation between the U.S. and Soviet Union as part of the lend-lease programme during the Second World War: from 1942 to 1945, about 8,000 U.S. combat aircraft were transported from the United States to Krasnoyarsk under their own power along a route known as «AlSib». At first, female American pilots from WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) squadrons flew the planes, then men navigated them to the city of Fairbanks, Alaska, where Soviet pilots took over and ferried the aircraft across half the country to Krasnoyarsk.
Airacobra fighters, one of which was flown by legendary pilot Alexandr Pokryshkin, reached the country along a similar route.
According to the American association, the risky route led to 177 fatal accidents, involving, among others, 38 female American pilots; 114 men crashed over the Soviet Union.
«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,» said Geer.
The Americans will carry out practice flights in 2013; the flight itself is scheduled for 2014. The association will equip the fighters with HD-cameras in order to produce a similarly titled follow-up documentary.
The association earlier released a trailer for the project.