Missoula Photographer Captures Annual ‘Red Sleds Over Montana’


Retired US Air Force Major Keely Flatow, now sharing his two passions for aviation and photography at the Museum of Mountain Flying, captured several images in late December of those involved in “Red Sleighs over Montana”.

Photo courtesy of Keely Flatow

“I had just taken photos for the Museum of Mountain Flying’s second annual Red Sleighs over Montana event and this is the second year we’ve been collecting donations, whether it’s money, toys or clothing for children in western Montana and also parts of Idaho. ” said Major Flatow.

She said the pilots and their families love to give back by sharing gifts of toys and clothing by delivering them using their own personal aircraft.

“We have pilots who volunteer their time and their plane to dress up as Santa Claus and deliver the toys and donations statewide and of course to Idaho this year,” she said. “So I went there to take some pictures of the event. We had, I think, about 10 to 12 different planes. I think it was three different helicopters and then fixed wing planes in one jet which was amazing. “

photo courtesy of Keely Flatow

Flatow provided the Red Sleighs over Montana timeline.

“It was before Christmas and I think they started to make themselves known in November,” she said. “Last year was a bit more Christmas, but this year we started a bit earlier. We spread the word and the community was once again so generous with donating time, money, toys and things like that.

Flatow said the gifts were airlifted to many communities in Montana and Idaho.

“There was a list of almost 20 different cities on the Museum of Mountain Flying Facebook page and on the Miss Montana to Normandy Facebook page. They visited many towns in western Montana, including Drummond, Phillipsburg and Darby. Some towns had to be removed at the last minute because the weather was not cooperating, but they had a really long list of places, from Anaconda to Arlee.

According to the Museum of Mountain Flying’s Facebook page, the Flying Santas delivered gifts to Anaconda, Big Sandy, Butte, Cut Bank, Darby, Deer Lodge, Denton, Drummond, Eureka, Havre, Hot Springs, Libby, Lincoln, Phillipsburg , Plains, Potomac, Seeley Lake, Shelby, Sunset School, Superior, Stevensville, Thompson Falls, White Sulfur Springs and to Sandpoint, Idaho.

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