• Glacier Girl Takes Flight To Complete Its Mission

    Glacier Girl Takes Flight To Complete Its Mission

    By Bill Otten (1 July 2007)

    In the early days of WWII, the United States began to send hundreds of planes to the U.K. It soon became apparent though, that the shipping lanes were a dangerous place due to German U-boats, as well as the factories where the disassembled planes were to be re-assembled. So Operation Bolero was formed to fly the planes over a long and tedious course to the U.K. over Nova Scotia, Labrador, Greenland, Iceland, and finally into England.

    One squadron though met dismal weather during the flight and soon became disoriented, with the rudimentary navigational gear they had then. The squadron turned back due to low fuel and attempted to land on a glacier field in Greenland. The first of the planes crash landed hard, its nose wheel collapsing in the deep snow and flipping the plane onto its back. The remaining planes landed wheels up. The pilots were rescued, but the planes remained and soon Mother Nature had claimed them all as her own. The squadron soon became known as the "Lost Squadron".

    In the 1990's a plane enthusiast from Kentucky, Roy Shoffner, went in search of the Lost Squadron and found it, now encased fully in ice and 268 feet deep. It had also drifted with the glacier a full mile from the original crash site. The expedition team was able to tunnel to the planes using hot water and eventually pulled a single P-38 Lightning from its icy grave in pieces.

    Since then the plane has been redubbed "Glacier Girl" and due to the passing of Roy Shoffner has been sold to an historic aircraft group. Mr Shoffner's wish was to have "Glacier Girl" complete her mission by flying to England as intended nearly 65 years ago.

    She is now doing just that and both the full story at

    http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=local&id=5393587 and live flight tracking at: http://bolero.flightexplorer.com (click on Launch Bolero 2 when the page comes up) can be read and followed.

    It's a fascinating bit of aviation history and this plane is also available for flightsimmers to fly. It can be found in the FlightSim.com Pilot Shop where you too can recreate the entire flight with the Glacier Girl.

    Bill Otten
    [email protected]

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