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America and Russia work together despite tensions to recall wartime flights over Siberia

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17 July 2015


Soviet and american pilots at the airfield Ladd Field, Fairbanks, 1944. Picture: RusAvia

The Alaska-Siberia Air Route (ALSIB) operated between 1942-1945 and stretched thousands of miles from the US, via Canada into the Soviet Union.

Some 7,926 combat warplanes were sent by America to Siberia on this major supply route in World War Two - and in the coming weeks aircraft from the era will fly again to recall this momentous achievement. 

The planes will fly from Great Falls, Montana to the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk recreating precisely the wartime route.

On 17 July, three World War Two warplanes, the AT-6 Texan and two Douglas C-47 Skytrains, will take off in Great Falls, Montana, fly over Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska, and land in Krasnoyarsk.

The pilots will make stops in Anadyr, Magadan, Yakutsk and Bratsk. The flight is scheduled for completion on 4 August, but later the pilots will continue to Moscow. 


On 17 July, three World War Two warplanes, the AT-6 Texan and two Douglas C-47 Skytrains, will take off in Great Falls, Montana, fly over Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska, and land in Krasnoyarsk. Picture: BRAVO 369

From 25-30 August the warplanes will be displayed in the International Aviation and Space Show (MAKS) in Zhukovsky, Moscow. The two Douglas C-47 Skytrain planes will be donated to Russia's Central Armed Forces Museum.

The routing will be Great Falls - Edmonton - Calgary - Fort St.John - Watson Lake - Tok Junction - Fairbanks - Nome - Anadyr - Magadan - Yakutsk - Bratsk - Krasnoyarsk - Moscow.

The flight is due to reach Anadyr, in Chukotka, on 28 July and remain there until 1 August. 

The project is known as 'Warplanes to Siberia', and follows an agreement between BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation, RUSAVIA (Russian Aviation Company), which suggested the idea, with the participation of  online game developer and publisher 'Wargaming. 

The pilots comeprise three Russians (among them CEO of 'Rusavia' Sergey Baranov) and three Americans (among them Jeff Geer, founder and Executive Director of BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation).


The monument to ALSIB aviators in Fairbanks (Alaska). Picture: R.T. Wallen

The US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft said the ALSIB project was an example of co-operation between the two countries regardless of current tensions over the Ukraine crisis. 

'The Alaska-Siberia air route is a historic example of how Russians and Americans can work together,' he said. 'During World War II and many times before and since then, our countries have cooperated to bring the world of peace and prosperity.

'Initiatives like this serve as an important reminder that our countries can, have, and do work together. Let us commit ourselves to ensuring that this will always be the case.'

He added: 'Despite the current tensions in our relationship I am confident that Americans and Russians will continue to find common cause on issues of mutual interest.'



Senior Lieutenant N.F. Kuznetsov after successful sortie in his P-40K (top). North American AT-6 Texan (bottom) Pictures:, RusAvia

The aircraft were delivered to the USSR in the war under a Lend-Lease agreement. The project demanded the reconstruction of airports in Yakutsk and Krasnoyarsk. 16 special airports on the Soviet territory and 15 on the North American side were constructed for this air road.

Severe weather and hostile conditions meant flying conditions were sometimes treacherous. There were 39 air crashes, the largest in November 1942 near Krasnoyarsk when 30 people were killed.


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