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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Problems ground ice-tomb fighter
Glacier Girl
The P-38 was trying to complete a journey attempted 65 years ago
A crew has been foiled in its attempt to fly to the UK in a US fighter plane that was rebuilt after being found frozen inside a glacier.

The Glacier Girl, a Lightning P-38, was one of eight American aircraft forced to land on Greenland in July 1942 on their way to England.

The reconstructed fighter was to refuel in the Western Isles en route to Duxford, but has broken down in Canada.

It will be flown back to the US after repairs are completed.

The P-38 was one of eight aircraft which landed on Greenland after encountering bad weather and over time became entombed in ice.

All the crew members survived.

Touch down

A US team retrieved the Glacier Girl from 81 metres (268ft) under ice in 1992.

A TF-51 fighter, Miss Velma, which was escorting the P-38 is expected to continue the journey alone.

It was planned to fly the reconstructed Glacier Girl to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, near Cambridge - completing the original journey it set out on from the States 65 years ago.

The fighter was to touch down in Stornoway to refuel before continuing on the rest of its flight.

Glacier Girl
Operation Bolero was the codename for American build-up in Britain. By early June 1944, more than 2m Americans had arrived along with a quarter-of-a-million Canadians
The Lockheed P-38 was designed in 1937
Late in 1942, it went into large-scale operations in North Africa and was dubbed The Fork-Tail Devil by the German Luftwaffe
According to the US Air Force, 9,923 P-38s were built by 1945 - but only 27 of the aircraft survive today

A museum spokeswoman said the crew flying the aircraft had made a "wise decision" not to continue the flight given the miles of open sea they would have had to fly over.

The Glacier Girl and five other P-38s and two B-17 bombers took off from the east coast of the US to make the long journey to Britain for operations over Germany during World War II.

The aircraft made up a small part of Operation Bolero, a build-up of allied aircraft in Britain championed by President Franklin Roosevelt.

But the aircraft encountered atrocious weather conditions over Greenland and, with fuel running low, the crews attempted a difficult landing on to a glacier.

All 25 crew members survived the landings and after being rescue were returned safely back to the States.

A dedicated recovery team spent months working to retrieve the P-38 when the lost aircraft were re-discovered.

The Glacier Girl was expected to take part in the Imperial War Museum annual Flying Legends weekend on 7 and 8 July.

It has previously flown at air shows in the US.


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