Lost WWII Plane Found In Greenland

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A nonprofit group searching for vintage aircraft in Greenland has reported they found the site of a P-38 wreck from the “Lost Squadron” from World War II, buried about 340 feet deep in glacial ice. Arctic Hot Point Solutions surveyed the area using new ground-penetrating radar mounted on drones. When the radar showed what they believed to be an airplane, the team used a heat probe to tunnel through the ice and collect evidence from the site. The probe returned covered in 5606 hydraulic fluid, the team reported, confirming that the target is the missing P-38 “Echo” from the Lost Squadron that landed on the ice in July 1942. The team plans to recover the airplane, using large heat plates to melt the ice and tunnel down to the site. They will then disassemble the airplane and recover it piece by piece.

The Lost Squadron of six P-38s and two B-17s landed on the ice in Greenland due to bad weather and low fuel, during a mission called Operation Bolero, an effort to build up Britain’s supply of aircraft to support the defense of Europe in World War II. After waiting for several days, all 25 crew members were rescued, but the aircraft were abandoned and gradually sank into the ice. So far only one aircraft has been recovered from the Lost Squadron. Glacier Girl, a P-38F Lightning, buried beneath 268 feet of ice, was recovered in 1992 and restored to flying condition.

Comments (10)

Cheaper and easier to just make a NEW P-38 than recover an old derelict.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | August 7, 2018 8:58 PM    Report this comment

Wow! Looking forward to this! I watched Glacier Girl being rebuilt piece by piece in Kentucky and it was a sight to see. Hopefully this one didn't get crushed too badly. Yes, you could build a "new" one, but then it just would not have the incredible history that an authentic P-38 war veteran would have. Without that, it's just a pile of sheet metal and a little Plexiglas. I can't wait to see it.

Posted by: A Richie | August 8, 2018 8:47 AM    Report this comment

A rebuild wreck will require new Plexiglas, new sheet metal, new hydraulics, new tires, new props, new turbochargers and engine parts, new wiring, new fuel hardware, new sealant.. As we saw with Glacier girl, even whole engines get swapped out when on a trip. Very little "authentic" is left when you decide to make it FLYABLE. To make a wreck into flyable condition will necessarily negate most of it's authenticity.

If you leave it as a pile of crumpled metal and cracked plexi on display in a museum, it remains "authentic". Honestly, I'b be more interested in seeing it displayed as-recovered. That retains both 100% authenticity and it's history in the ice.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | August 8, 2018 9:51 AM    Report this comment

According to "the internet", Glacier Girl is 80% original.
This information is from www lewisairlegends com/aircraft/glacier-girl
and p38assn org/glaciergirl/restore.htm

Posted by: Martin Boulerice | August 8, 2018 12:24 PM    Report this comment

If Glacier Girl is 80% original, she can't be flyable. Mark Fraser is correct about the requirements to restore a time and ice-crushed derelict. If you want to preserve history AND have a nice representation, build a new plane and place them side-by-side in the same Air Museum (I have one in mind). The cost to rebuild the derelict to flyable condition will be many times more than to build a nice representation; and, to display them side-by-side will accomplish all objectives.

Thank you for your consideration,
Steve Hatfield
El Paso, Tx.

Posted by: Steve Hatfield | August 8, 2018 2:42 PM    Report this comment

Mark Fraser is correct about a time and ice-crushed derelict. If you want both, the original and a nice representation, build a nice representation at much less cost than restoring the derelict; then place them side-by-side in the same Air Museum (I have one in mind). This way you have authenticity and beauty of the original.

Steve Hatfield
El Paso, Tx.

Posted by: Steve Hatfield | August 8, 2018 2:50 PM    Report this comment

Hmmm, How come I had to do two posts to get the first post posted? Originally, It didn't accept the first post.

Steve Hatfield

Posted by: Steve Hatfield | August 8, 2018 2:55 PM    Report this comment

"According to "the internet", Glacier Girl is 80% original."

I remember watching restoration vids where they were making ribs, saving "some" skin, and re-plumbing the hydraulics with all new lines, and seeing the corrosion present in both engines. I also remember the engines making metal even before the first flight. I also remember the aborted flight(s) to England and at least one engine got replaced.

Seriously, it's easier and cheaper to make a brand new P-38 if you want a reliable/flyable examples for airshows. Using more time and more money to "rescue" planes that have been written off by everyone for 76 years is counter productive and frankly kinda silly.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | August 8, 2018 9:01 PM    Report this comment

I read an article about the restoration of Glacier Girl that the only "original" part used from the wreck was the windshield frame.

Posted by: Peter Simpson | August 10, 2018 8:26 AM    Report this comment

I always thought it'd be "better" to make new planes the way they are doing with WWI planes. They are doing that also on a few P-51's, FW190's and ME262's. That supports keeping flying examples in the air without the wasted effort of recovery and rebuilding true derelicts where you can honestly only reuse the data plate.

Of course, if you have a true over abundance of money and teams working for you, you can have anything "rebuilt" as long as you recover a few atoms of the original. It's a real stretch to call such things a piece of history after you do that much to them.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | August 10, 2018 9:11 AM    Report this comment

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