The Lost Squadron


What about the rest of the P-38s and B-17s in the ice cap? Are there plans to retrieve any more?
This has been a very popular question lately. Currently there are five P-38s and two B-17s still trapped approximately 268 feet below the ice. The Lost SquadronMuseum and Glacier Girl Project staff currently have no intentions of going back for any more of the planes. Bob Cardin has stated that there are (now) two primary reasons why not:

The risk versus the rewards is too high. The Greenland ice cap is a very harsh climate, and the possibility of one or more persons losing their life on another recovery mission has to be considered. It’s simply not worth the risk.

There’s not enough funding. There are not many groups or organizations that would even be willing to fund such a project. The Glacier Girl Recovery was largely privately financed. Had it not been for the contributions of Roy Shoffner and other individuals, Glacier Girl would still be buried in the ice cap with her companions.

This doesn’t mean that the other planes will never be recovered. Anyone can petition Greenland for the recovery rights, and if funding for it can be found, the rest of the planes may be recovered some day. There are currently two groups interested in such a mission, but no serious moves have yet been made. The other thing to consider is the amount of damage to the aircraft and the expense of restoring them. The longer the planes are trapped in the ice, the more damage is done to them. Considering that Glacier Girl had broken parts down to the main spar, the other planes may not be worth restoring by the time they are recovered. Finding parts for them may also be a problem, considering the difficulties encountered in restoring Glacier Girl. She still only has one set of tires and no replacements.

Why was a P-38 recovered instead of a B-17?
The first plane that was found and tunneled down to was the B-17 known as Big Stoop. 50+ years in the icecap had basically ground the plane to pieces and it was determined that it was not worth salvaging. The P-38s were more compact, so there was less empty space to be crushed, and the team hoped to have better luck with one of them. The team was right and even though she suffered plenty of crushing damage and her tail booms were separated from the rest of the plane when they found her, Glacier Girl came out of the ice more or less intact and ready to be rebuilt.

How much did it cost overall to recover and restore Glacier Girl?
The best ballpark figure we have for total cost is $6.9 million dollars ( US ). This includes the recovery costs, but does not include any of the costs involved with flying or maintaining Glacier Girl.

Is there any kind of guess on how close the other planes might have been to Glacier Girl?
Actually, Big Stoop (one of the B-17s) was found before Glacier Girl at approximately the same depth and only a few hundred feet away. Although it cannot be said for sure without going back to look, it is reasonable to guess that the rest of the planes are just as close.

Are the P-38 artifacts (hoses, pieces of stamped aluminum skin) for sale in the gift shop genuine?
Yes! These are pieces that could not be reused in Glacier Girl’s restoration. All artifacts come with a certificate of authenticity. You really can own a piece of the original!

Who was the pilot of Glacier Girl during World War II?
Lieutenant Harry Smith – died 1981

What are the plans for Glacier Girl now that restoration is complete?
She will be:
Flying in different air shows around the country
Remain center attraction at the museum for parts of the year
The Ultimate Goal – To fly and complete the Operation Bolero mission that put her under the ice.

Why was the Restoration based in Middlesboro Kentucky ?
Mr. Roy Shoffner, the project’s sponsor, lives in the Middlesboro area.

Will Glacier Girl be appearing at an airshow local to me?
Glacier Girl’s complete schedule of airshow visits can be found in the Eventssection of this site. Events not listed are not currently on the schedule.

How long did the Recovery Mission last?
It began May 6th, 1992 , and ended August 22nd, 1992

Can you give me some specifications of the P-38, such as wingspan, speed, etc.?

Wingspan – 52 ft. Height – 12 ft. 10 in. Length – 37 ft. 10 in. Engine size – (2) Allison V-1710-49/53 Vee rated at 1325 hp each Top speed – 395 mph
Max. altitude – 39,000 ft. Initial climb rate – 20,000 ft. in 8 min. 48 sec.

For heritage warplane museum and aeroplane museum. Visit