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Project Zebra Diaries. Entry #13.
Russians pilots make surprise visit to Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kitty Hawk

(circa 1944: Russian and American pilots take a break from the war at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.)

Russians have been fascinated with flight since the Wright Brothers first took to the skies. In fact, the first Russian flyer, built in 1912, was based on Wright Brother designs

By the 1930s, Russian obsession with flight created a formidable conventional air force. In 1941, Adolph Hitler invaded Russia and destroyed 85% of that air force. Enter President Roosevelt who agreed to build 6,000 replacement planes in America so the Russians could battle the vaulted Nazi Luftwaffe on even terms.

At the same time, German U-boats were destroying an estimated 60 percent of allied war materials shipped via the North Atlantic. Why? The allies were stretched elsewhere, and Russia did not own a single amphibious (take off and land on water/ land) warplane capable of seeking and destroying the agile German submarines.

Privately, Roosevelt and Stalin conceived of a bold top-secret mission called Project Zebra to build 185 huge state-of-the-art warplanes and train Russian aces in America. As the 18-month mission unfolded, Project Zebra became more than just a military success; it
became an epic human drama that contains value lessons learned for today’s intense world environment.

To see more see PROJECT ZEBRA. Roosevelt and Stalin’s Top-Secret Mission to Train 300 Soviet Airmen in America.

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