Doc flies on History Channel

Restored P-38 fighter lost in the ice in 1942.

The History Channel unhesitatingly gave the greenlight to Broadview Media’s proposal to produce a documentary about a 20-year, multi-million search to find a squadron of WWII aircraft that was lost in 1942 in Greenland’s ice cap.

Eighteen months and a monstrous 1,000 hours of editing later, the two-hour “Hunt for the Lost Squadron” was completed and aired March 3.

It recounts the painstaking restoration of a P-38 fighter, the only aircraft recovered, and the devastation the search had on men’s lives.

“Squadron” actually got off the ground a year earlier when Broadview’s Minneapolis-based John Kitchener heard the story through a local museum. His research yielded a lode of fascinating information previously undocumented about the search of two adventurers, Patt Epps and Richard Taylor.

Over the years, the pair led numerous unsuccessful expeditions until 1988. Using sub-surface radar, they found something solid beneath the ice ? one of the six P-38s, missing along with 17 B-17 bombers.

Led by executive producer Kitchener, a Broadview camera crew began shooting more than 40 individuals connected with the 1980s expeditions. Late October last year, Broadview had six camera crews in Middlesboro, Kentucky when 10,000 people gathered to see if the reconstructed P-38 could take to the sky for the first time in 60 years. ? ??

The biggest part of the project, according to Broadview’s Richard Hawksworth, “was collecting 100-plus hours of archival footage actually shot in Greenland.” To this they added some scenes from Lockheed-Martin, the P-38’s manufacturer.

Brent Hannigan, Broadview’s lead editor and co-producer, began the arduous task of editing in August, added the October footage and finished three weeks before the airdate.

Broadview producers were Michael Husain and Bonnie Hawksworth; Brian Callahan designed sound and Jon Gallo designed the descriptive animation and titles.

New York actor Greg Stebner narrator and Vancouver composer Michael Plowman provided the score. Carl Lindahl was executive producer for the History Channel.