Historic Warplanes Grace the Skies of Great Falls - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Historic Warplanes Grace the Skies of Great Falls

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GREAT FALLS, Mont. -

This weekend spectators will have the chance to view history up close in Great Falls. The airport authority is hosting an event this weekend at the Great Falls International Airport.

For more information see the release by Great Falls International Airport Authority: 

From 1942 through 1945 a little known presidential initiative called “Lend-Lease” sent over 8,000 U.S. Warplanes to the Russian front in an effort that quite possibly kept the former Soviet Union from being bombed into submission. The 6,000 mile route used to transport these planes, referred to as the Alaska-Siberia Air Route (ALSIB) stretched from the Great Falls International Airport to the Russian airbase in Krasnoyarsk in central Siberia. Many of the aircraft were flown to Great Falls from the factories by the pilots of the famed Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program.

On July 17th through 19th, 2015, a historic aircraft formation will once again grace the skies of Great Falls. The Great Falls International Airport, with its two historic World War II hangars still intact, will host a commemorative fly-in for the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe. Present at the event will be three North American T-6 Texans flown by the BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation. The event will also include a legendary Bell P-63 Kingcobra sponsored, in part, by BRAVO 369. Over 2,000 P-63s were sent to the Russians to form the backbone of their air defense. Two Douglas C-47 Skytrains will also arrive in Great Falls flown by BRAVO 369’s Russian flight partner RUSAVIA to celebrate the partnership between Russia and the United States as part of this amazing endeavor. A North American P-51 Mustang will be at the event as well. Although not a Lend-Lease airplane, beginning in 1947 the Montana Air National Guard flew P-51s out of the same World War II hangars. A Montana Air National Guard Lockheed C-130 Hercules and other aircraft will also be available for viewing.

Attendees to the events will be able to see these historic planes, visit with the flight crews, view the historic hangars, and attend discussions by experts on the history surrounding this fascinating and secret program. There will also be dignitaries from the United States, Canada, and Russia present to help celebrate the friendship and cooperation of the ALSIB program both then and now.

Schedule of Events:

An Evening with the Warplanes

Date: Friday 7/17/2015 5:30pm to 9:00pm

Invitation: Public Event

Location: Great Falls Airport WWII Hangars near Holman Aviation

Friday evening will be a Chamber After Hours event open to the public to welcome these historic aircraft and their crew to Montana. The event will be held on the ramp next to the Warplanes. Food and drinks will be available for purchase with a band playing 40’s-era music. There is a $5 suggested donation for this event to help fund the BRAVO 369 “Warplanes to Siberia” project.

Opening Ceremony with the Montana Defense Alliance

Date: Saturday 7/18/2015 10:30am

Invitation: Public Event

Location: Great Falls Airport World War II Hangars near Holman Aviation

The Montana Defense Alliance will conduct a brief ceremony Saturday morning at 11:30am to recognize the airmen who sacrificed their lives as part of the ALSIB program as well as to commemorate the contributions of thousands of men and women involved in the Lend-Lease Program.

Open House: Warplanes over Great Falls

Date: Saturday 7/18/2015 and Sunday 7/19/2015 11:30am to 4:00pm

Invitation: Public Event

Location: Great Falls Airport World War II Hangars near Holman Aviation and Passenger Terminal via shuttle

The public is invited to visit the World War II Wood Hangar at the Great Falls Airport to view these historic facilities and the Warplanes they were built to house. The full complement of aircraft will be available for viewing both days. Historic photos taken at the airport will also be on display. Other activities include:

· Both days at 1:30 in the Passenger Terminal, Sandra Edwards Spears, President of the Board of the National WASP World War II Museum and daughter of a WASP flight instructor will offer a presentation on the WASP program and its role in Great Falls. Speakers from the BRAVO 369 project will discuss the Warplanes to Siberia documentary on Lend Lease. The Great Falls History Museum will also discuss their collection of artifacts from that era.

· Formation Flight Demonstration by BRAVO 369

· Kids activities including a bounce house

· Photo opportunities with the Warplanes

· Food concessions

Reception at the History Museum

Date: Saturday 7/18/2015 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Invitation: Public Event

Location: Great Falls History Museum

The reception will feature a tour of the museum, which is the official repository of records, photographs, and historical memorabilia from Air Transport Command’s 7th Ferrying Squadron. Speaking during the reception will be museum director, Jim Meinert; BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation president, Jeff Geer; BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation co-founder and director, Craig Lang; Russian Aviation Company, Ltd. (RUSAVIA) president, Sergey Baranov; Tracy Spaight director of special projects for Wargaming.net; and, President of the Board of Directors of the National WASP World War II Museum, Sandra Edwards Spears. The museum reception will be held from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

Please join us at the above events to learn more about the incredible untold story of how Montana played a pivotal role on the World War II Russian Front.

About BRAVO 369

The BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization consisting of a dedicated group of business, education, and aviation professionals, committed to education and the support of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs by providing educational scholarship opportunities, preserving historical aircraft, and inspiring youth worldwide to “Aim High!” www.bravo369.org

About RUSAVIA

Russian Aviation Company, Ltd. (RUSAVIA) is one the largest suppliers of aviation parts, instruments, and equipment for Russian-built aircraft worldwide, including aircraft components manufacturer of MiG, Ilyushin, and Mil Helicopter. In addition to its commitment to history and the preservation of historical aircraft, RUSAVIA is dedicated to the development of small aviation in remote areas of Far North Russia, strengthening the friendship between Russia and the United States, honoring veterans worldwide, and the education of the younger generations. http://en.rusavia.com

About Wargaming

Wargaming is an award-winning online game developer and publisher, and one of the leaders in the free-to-play MMO market. Founded as a privately held company in 1998, Wargaming has shipped more than 15 titles. Currently, Wargaming is focused on its team-based MMO war series dedicated to the mid-20th century warfare that will include the armored World of Tanks, the flight combat World of Warplanes, and the naval World of Warships. The three intertwined titles will form a common gaming universe integrated within the portal www.wargaming.net.

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