When the Soviet Union shot down a U2 spy plane on 1 May 1960, the world was on the verge of a new war, and Bodø was the centre of attention.

When jubilation ...

finally broke out in 1945, Norway was divided in two. The South was industrialised and developed, the North was a supplier of raw materials and had furthermore been the object of considerable destruction
during the war.

Something had to done about Northern Norway, and the solution appeared when the Soviet Union began to emerge as a new world power. Northern Norway had suddenly become NATO’s front line facing the great bear in the east. Billions of dollars in the form of cash and equipment were transferred to Norway in order to build up a robust defence in Northern Norway.

Airports, surveillance stations, military bases and coastal fortifications were built at record-breaking speed. The Cold War thus became a blessing for Northern Norway in the form of intense activity and demands for labour and competence.

At the same time, ...

fear of a cataclysmic nuclear war gained momentum. School children were taught to hide under their desks if the air raid siren was sounded. The state developed evacuation plans for the major cities and a large number of air raid shelters were built. A whole generation grew up in
fear of the atomic bomb.

The close collaboration between NATO and the USA in particular, also resulted in Norway – and Northern Norway – developing a very close relationship with American pop culture via films, books and music. This was also something that the American authorities made deliberate use of, in order to knit closer bonds between Norway and the USA.

In Northern Norway, extensive espionage was carried out by both sides during the Cold War, and an eternal hunt for communists took place. Surveillance was intense and everyone kept an eye on what the neighbours were up to. And in Bodø, in deepest secrecy, American U2 spy planes made intermediate landings.

Then, on 1 May 1960, ...

the unthinkable happened. Pilot Gary Powers and his U2 were shot down over Sverdlovsk. Suddenly, the attention of the whole world was focussed on Norway and the small town of Bodø.

The incident was an extremely embarrassing and sensitive affair for Norway. Now everybody knew that Bodø was a base used by the Americans. The Russian reaction was fearsome. They threatened to eradicate all Norwegian airports with the help of nuclear weapons.

“It was a very dramatic affair,” says Curator Karl L. Kleve
of the Norwegian Aviation Museum in Bodø.

For a long period ...

of time the tension was practically tangible, but the crisis finally passed. As did the Cold War, symbolised by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
But the Cold War has left its mark on the whole of Northern Norway. Today, you can see an authentic U2 aircraft at the Norwegian Aviation Museum in Bodø.

Here, you can also wander around for hours among civil and military aircraft and equipment. With its 10,000 square metres of floor space, the museum’s exhibitions offers considerable breadth and depth. You can relive history from Da Vinci and the Wright Brothers right up until today’s digital solutions.

The aviation museum ...

is the ideal solution when the rain suddenly begins to pour, or if you are seeking a unique insight into Norwegian and international aviation history. Visit the Twin Otter, the tiny green machine that revolutionized
Norway when the network of small STOL airports was built in the 1970s. Take a closer look at the Spitfire – the plane that won the Battle of Britain, or classic aircraft like the Ju 52 and Fokker F28.

If you are seeking a real adrenaline kick, you should visit
the museum simulator and try your hand as a pilot for a few
nerve-racking minutes. And from the museum’s own control
tower you have a panoramic view of today’s air traffic in
Bodø, including SAS, Norwegian,Widerøe, the Air Force F16s and 330
Squadron’s Sea King rescue helicopters.

Read more about Bodø and Salten on www.visitbodo.com