By ANN Correspondent Aleta Vinas
Lucky thirteen. Bob Cardin, Project Manager and Head of
Restoration for Glacier Girl and his crew were the 13th expedition
to try rescuing The Lost Squadron from under 250 feet of Greenland
ice. He recalls his first impression, "When I first got onto the
plane I was taken aback by it because of the size. I'd just come
down through a four foot hole and all of a sudden here's an
airplane with a 52 foot wing."
Steve Hinton, who is Glacier Girl's sole pilot, was called by
Pat Epps to join the team. He was working in Chino (CA) at the
time, restoring another P-38 Lightning when the call came. Steve
said about the offer "I can't imagine doing it down in a
He did change his mind.
The green beauty, sitting in AeroShell Square this week at
AirVenture is a testament to persistence, determination and oh yes,
Fourteen years ago she appeared at AirVenture as a bunch of
damaged, rusted pieces. Now she's the picture of health and purrs
like a twin-engine kitten.
Glacier Girl is 80% original and her guns and bullets are 100%
original. They were fired off in celebration on the July 4th after
she was rescued from the ice.
Cardin wants to see Glacier Girl continue flying. He would love
to see her complete her original mission, "I'd sure like to see it
someday finish the mission it started in 42 and make it to England.
Then I'd like to see it retired."
Cardin adds, "We really look at her as much of an artifact as it
is an airplane, primarily because it's the only one of it's kind in
the world. It's the only WWII airplane flying today that still has
it's from the factory engines, propellers, complete set of guns,
everything. This airplane is exactly as it was as it left the
factory in 1942. In five or ten years, this is all we're gonna have
left over to remind us of the sacrifices that took place to
guarantee the freedoms we have today."
Glacier Girl will make one more airshow this season in
Middlesboro (KY) on September 3rd and 4th. There is a special
formation flight planned, two P-38's, two P47's and two P-51's.
What about those five P-38's and 2 B-17's still under what is
now about 300 feet of ice? Cardin has heard of a group of
Germans that may make a try next year. Maybe Glacier Girl will find