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Sat, Jun 23, 2007

Glacier Girl Embarks On Operation Bolero II

Heads To England To Complete Original Mission

After 65 years -- including 50 years spent buried deep below the surface of a Greenland glacier -- the recovered and fully restored Lockheed P-38 now known as Glacier Girl is on her way to completing her interrupted World War II mission: Operation Bolero.

ANN was on hand as Glacier Girl departed Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, NJ around 1330 EDT Friday, as pilot Steve Hinton set out to follow the same transatlantic route the P-38 and the rest of the famous WWII "Lost Squadron" attempted in 1942. The entire squadron, which consisted of P-38s and Boeing B-17s, was forced to land on the ice after bad weather forced the aircraft to turn back despite insufficient fuel.

For Operation Bolero II, Glacier Girl is accompanied by veteran air show pilot Ed Shipley, who will fly the vintage North American P-51 Mustang, Miss Velma.

Flying alongside pilots Hinton and Shipley for the first 100 miles of their journey is 89 year-old Brad McManus, the last living pilot of the Lost Squadron. Before beginning his flight with pilot Jim Beasley, McManus talked with ANN about this venerable aircraft and the pilots who flew it.

"I'd like to acknowledge a relationship that this plane had with thousands of guys that flew it," McManus (shown below, left) said. "It was, in my judgment, the most popular aircraft built in World War II. It had great range, great speed, great firepower. It was successful in the Pacific and in the Atlantic."

After completing its mission by landing in Duxford, England, Glacier Girl will stay to participate in The Flying Legends Show July 7-8 before returning to appear at AirVenture Oshkosh 2007.

FMI: www.thelostsquadron.com

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