Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Glacier Girl

The restored Glacier Girl - from Wikipedia

The story of the Glacier Girl isn't new, but recently I bumbled across it again, pausing in mid-browse to read it once more because it appeals to me somehow.

Maybe the whole thing from crash landing to recovering the wreck is tinged with a sense of old-fashioned exploits like something out of a boy's adventure book from too long ago. Maybe it's also because I built a plastic Airfix model of one of these aircraft in my youth.

On 15 July 1942, due to poor weather and limited visibility, Glacier Girl's squadron was forced to make an emergency landing in Greenland en route to the British Isles during Operation Bolero. All crew members were subsequently rescued. However, Glacier Girl, along with the unit's five other P-38 fighters and two B-17 bombers, was eventually buried beneath 260 feet of ice due to decades of blowing snow and drifting glaciers. Fifty years later, in 1992, the plane was brought to the surface by members of the Greenland Expedition Society after years of searching and excavation. The aircraft was eventually transported to Middlesboro, Kentucky, where it was restored to flying condition.

That's 260 feet of ice accumulation by 1988 when the location of the aircraft was first discovered. So after only 46 years, an average of over five and a half feet of ice per year had built up. The expedition had expected to find the aircraft near the surface. So much for Greenland's disappearing ice.


James Higham said...

old-fashioned exploits like something out of a boy's adventure book

With you there - my sidebar tries to recapture it too. Are we pining for never to return times?

A K Haart said...

James - I think we are, because it seems to have disappeared completely.

Woodsy42 said...

"So much for Greenland's disappearing ice"
Just local weather, I think there are palm trees on the other coast.
Nice that they were able to rebuild this bit of history.

A K Haart said...

Woodsy - yes, with its palm trees and luxury chalets the other coast is perfect for that special holiday.