FLYING THE SECRET SKY: THE STORY OF THE RAF FERRY COMMAND
“ Give us the tools, and we will finish the job !” – Winston Churchill
In 1940 Nazi air strikes had Britain on her knees. The RAF was desperate for aircraft - losing hundreds of planes in air battles over Europe.
Their essential supply of US aircraft, sent on ship convoys, was sunk in the icy Atlantic by relentless German U-boats.
Desperate times demanded desperate action. The only alternative was to fly the planes across the unforgiving ocean. The Ferry Command was born.
The US was still neutral, so word went out through the “aviation grapevine” about a secret operation based in Montreal, that needed experienced civilian pilots. They offered an irresistible combination – a vital and important job, the chance to fly the latest aircraft, and a large paycheck.
This attracted a rowdy bunch of airline pilots, bush pilots, barnstormers and daredevils -- men used to danger and risk. But nothing could prepare them for the treacherous winter skies over the North Atlantic, that in1940, no one dared fly. Meteorology was in its infancy: there was no way to predict the fierce winds, intense storms or dense fog that could suddenly pitch planes into darkness, fatally coating them with ice.
Flying the Secret Sky tells a story of passionate risk-taking, of young men braving dangerous flights in primitive aircraft. These “cowboys of the air” are forgotten heroes of the air war, men who flew without guns and embodied an improvisational spirit that was key to Allied victory.
The story is told by the flyers themselves, including Air Commadore Taffey Powell, Kirk Kerkorian, and Bill VanDerKloot, the American civilian pilot who flew Winston Churchill during the war. Included is never-before-seen home movie footage of Churchill in the American-built B-24 that safely delivered the him to vital war conferences and secret meetings. Also included is rare footage of Ferry Command aircraft and crews from archives around the world, as well as original footage and CGI.
Before the U.S. had even entered the War, most of the Ferry Command pilots were American civilians who pioneered the global air routes we use today.
Theirs is one of the great unknown stories of the war and of aviation history.
Narrated by Carlo Rota Original Score Composed by James Oliverio
Head Researcher and Field Producer Monique Tobin
Written, Produced and Directed by William VanDerKloot