Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Old Warbird Flies To Europe.

via USA Today.

Plane salvaged from ice cap set to make trans-Atlantic flight

After a World War II crash landing in Greenland, 50 years under ice and nearly $7 million in recovery and restoration costs, Glacier Girl is about to complete its mission.

On Friday, the vintage P-38 Lightning fighter will depart from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to finish what it started in 1942: a trans-Atlantic flight to England. This time, the only surviving relic of "The Lost Squadron" downed by bad weather will have thousands of people tracking its progress on the Internet.

Nearly 65 years after the Army Air Corps squadron of eight warplanes aborted its mission on Greenland's ice cap, Glacier Girl's week-long journey will bring closure to "an Indiana Jones kind of story," says Steven Hinton, the pilot who will fly the vintage warbird. He calls the flight a tribute to all World War II veterans and a way "to make everyone understand their story."

For Brad McManus, at 89, the sole surviving pilot from the squadron, "It's a thrill to know this is occurring and to think they are actually going to fly it over the same route that we flew in 1942."

I love stories like this. I remember that PBS broadcast a similar story about a B-29 Superfortress that was similarly stranded in Greenland: the Kee Bird. That plane was repaired on site, spiffed up and, with the engine running and preparing to fly out, caught fire and was destroyed on the ground, a total loss.

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