Legislature’s ‘aviation caucus’ to spotlight historic wartime flights

Kicking off the first 2015 meeting of the state Legislature’s “Aviation Caucus” Thursday will be a visit from two members of the BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation, a Bellingham-based group dedicated to recreating a flight along the historic Alaska-Siberia air route used in World War II.

20140217_LegWA_0009scThe little-known air route represented a dangerous 6,000-mile journey from Great Falls, Montana, to Alaska and on through Siberia to Moscow. As part of the Lend-Lease Program, the original BRAVO 369 pilots risked their lives by delivering military aircraft and other supplies to the United States’ allies in Russia during World War II.

“The story of the BRAVO 369 flights is fascinating and largely untold. Shedding light on these heroic pilots and making history come to life is exactly what I’d hoped I could do when I formed this caucus,” said Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside.

The Aviation Caucus is made up of bipartisan legislators from the Senate and the House of Representatives who share a love of all things related to flight and to promote general aviation. Not an official legislative caucus, the group meets outside business hours.

Attending the meeting will be Craig Lang, co-founder and director of the BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation, and retired Air Canada pilot Allan Snowie, who is part of the contingent recreating the flight later this year.

“This year will mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Many of these great moments in history will be lost forever if we don’t make an intentional effort to capture them,” said Honeyford. “We owe those who sacrificed so much. This is the very least we can do.”