Exactly 54 years ago, on February 10, 1962, Francis Gary Powers walked past Rudolf Abel on Glienicke Bridge. The first-ever spy exchange was complete.
After watching the “Bridge of Spies” movie with my wife, I got so fascinated by the plane crash scene that I decided to do some research. While the movie focuses on the first-ever spy exchange between the United States and Soviet Union, I wanted to learn more about the American pilot himself and the reasons his spy plane got shot down.
Turns out the pilot’s story is no less fascinating than the spy exchange and the timeline of events preceding the crash and the events that followed it spawns exactly 45 years – 45 years of secrecy, fear, lies, deceit and just outright bluff. Since I speak fluent Russian and Latvian this story is a combination of facts taken from many different sources. I’ve tried hard to separate facts from fiction, so the end result should be as close to the truth as it can be.
At some point I realized that I’m writing a book, not an article, so I had to scale down and cut some things out. If you have any specific questions please feel free to drop me a note. But the story of Francis Gary Powers, his fateful flight and the events that followed it, as well as the political scene at the time, it’s all here. With that in mind…. Have fun.