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Fri, Jun 01, 2007

'Glacier Girl' To Finally Complete Ill-Fated Flight Across Atlantic

"Operation Bolero II" Will Launch June 22

On July 15, 1942, a United States Army/Air Force Squadron departed American soil on Operation Bolero, a World War II aid mission to support US allies in the war torn European theatre. Due to insurmountable weather-related problems en route, the entire squadron of six P-38s and two B-17 bombers was forced to abort its mission and make an emergency landing on a remote ice cap in Greenland.

"The Lost Squadron," as it has become known over time, drifted miles from its original location... and only one P-38, encased in 268 feet of ice, was salvaged.

You may be familiar with what happened next. A recovery and restoration mission taking more than 10 years and costing over a million dollars brought this legendary P-38 Lightning, now known as Glacier Girl, to her original flying glory... and on June 22, Glacier Girl will finally complete her fabled World War II transatlantic mission when she departs from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey bound for Duxford, England.

"This monumental flight will bring closure to Operation Bolero as well as pay homage to the brave aviators who beat the odds to survive certain death on that polar ice cap in Greenland during World War II," said pilot Steve Hinton, who will fly Glacier Girl in her transatlantic flight in June. "It’s thrilling to be a part of this historic event."

Dubbed Operation Bolero II, after the original WWII operation, the mission remains as challenging as it is historic.

Glacier Girl will be accompanied by the P-51 Mustang Miss Velma, a vintage WWII warbird that will be flown by Ed Shipley. The P-51 will be equipped with Wingspeed Corporation’s satellite-based aircraft communications technology, that will allow anyone on the ground to communicate with the pilots via email communications and receive answers from the cockpit while the planes are in flight. Wingspeed's network will also allow real time tracking of Glacier Girl’s historic journey.

"It's an honor to be Steve’s wingman as we trace the same flight path that Glacier Girl flew over 60 years ago," said Shipley, US Air Force Heritage Flight pilot. "Wingspeed’s cutting edge communications technology will allow us to chat with enthusiasts from anywhere on the globe while we’re in flight, so the world can experience this with us." 

After landing, Glacier Girl will remain in Duxford for the renowned Flying Legends Air Show on July 7 and 8, where she will be featured alongside an impressive line-up of over 50 aircraft from both the WWI and WWII era. Glacier Girl will then return to the US for EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, where she will fly the US Air Force Heritage Flight.

As ANN reported Thursday, Glacier Girl will also be one of six vintage aircraft competing in the National Aviation Hall of Fame's "Best of the Best" People's Choice Award throughout Oshkosh.

FMI: www.wingspeedcorp.com, http://p38assn.org/glacier-girl.htm

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