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Creation 26(1):20–21, December 2003

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Editor’s note: As Creation magazine has been continuously published since 1978, we are publishing some of the articles from the archives for historical interest, such as this. For teaching and sharing purposes, readers are advised to supplement these historic articles with more up-to-date ones suggested in the Related Articles and Further Reading below.

Ice-bound plane flies again!

‘Glacier Girl’ reminds us that it doesn’t take millions of years to form deep layers of ice


An astonishing amount of ice covered the aircraft after less than 50 years.

Our mid-1997 article, The lost squadron,1 told the amazing story of a squadron of American fighters and bombers forcibly abandoned on a Greenland glacier on 15 July 1942.

Some 50 years later, an expedition was launched to locate these (now rare) aircraft. It was stated that after scraping a small buildup of ice from their wings, the planes could simply be refuelled and ‘flown into the sunset’.2

This made sense, considering that most people have the impression that it takes thousands of years to build up icesheets that are hundreds of metres thick.

But after several frustrating failures to find the fighters, they turned out to be buried deep beneath some 75 m (250 ft) of solid ice. This ice, as high as a 26-storey building, had built up on top of the squadron from the normal snowfall in the region, in those 50 years.3 (Ice ‘flow’ had also moved the aircraft some five kilometres—three miles—horizontally.)

Rapid events

‘The fork-tailed devil’ was how Nazi pilots described the Lockheed P-38 fighter plane during WWII. The amazing story of the recovery of these famous aircraft has highlighted one of the greatest fallacies of our age.

Lockheed P-38 ‘Lightning’

Length: 11.53 m (37’ 10”) Wingspan: 15.85 m (52.0’) Gross weight: 6,950 kg (15,340 lb.) Max. ceiling: 13,411 m (44,000’) Max. range: 4,184 km (2,600 mi.) Powerplants: 2 x V12 Allison (V-1710-27/29) engines Horsepower (each): 1,150 Max. speed: 636 km/h (395 mph) Production: 1939–1945 Manufactured: 9,923 Cost: $115,000 (1945)

With great effort and expense, and using specially invented machinery to melt down to the planes’ icy tomb, one of the Lockheed P-38 fighters was eventually recovered. Despite its having been more badly damaged by the weight of the ice than first thought, enthusiastic restoration went ahead.4 In mid-2003, six years after our article appeared, the appropriately-dubbed ‘Glacier Girl’ took to the air again, for the first time in nearly 60 years.

The fascinating news that one of these magnificent ‘planes in ice’ is actually flying again brings to mind their whole amazing story. It is a powerful, real-life testimony against the widespread belief that it takes vast timespans to lay down thick layers of ice.

This belief is in any case not the result of any stringent scientific logic so much as cultural indoctrination into the ‘slow-and-gradual’ philosophy that has set itself up in opposition to the straightforward chronology of the Bible. Every time we hear of ‘Glacier Girl’ appearing at another airshow, it can remind us of the stark facts her reappearance has demonstrated.

References and notes

  1. Wieland, C., The lost squadron, Creation 19(3):10–14, 1997. Return to text.
  2. The most expected was about 10 m (30 ft). Return to text.
  3. To preempt another round of correspondence: planes will not sink through solid ice, which in any case would result in the wings sinking at a different rate and thus shearing off. This ice definitely ‘packed on top’ of these planes—see Would planes sink into ice? Creation 19(4):29, 1997. Return to text.
  4. Despite the damage, the majority of the parts used are original. Return to text.

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