The Lost Aviator is the story of captain Bill Lancaster, whose adventure, romance and mystery provide the foundations for this film. Bill was revered as a fearless British hero, a pioneering aviator during the late 1920s and 30s. But in Miami, 1932, when fates traps Bill and Chubbie in a love triangle with American writer, Haden Clarke, things start to get messy. Haden is found with a bullet in his head and Bill claims it’s suicide… even after admitting he forged the suicide notes!
A scandalous 18 day murder trial ensues with Bill facing the electric chair. But given the mounting circumstantial evidence and dubious forensics, the outcome was not convincing.
One year exactly to the day the bullet was fired, Bill mysteriously disappears, only to be found 29 years later beside a small plane, his body mummified in the Sahara desert. His tragic and lonely death is recounted in an emotional diary describing the last 8 days of his life, waiting to be rescued. But to many people’s surprise, he makes no mention of Haden Clarke, the murder trial or barely even his own wife and children; only his obsessive love for Chubbie Miller.
Through a motley cast of family members, historians, forensic scientists, attorneys, aviation enthusiasts, biographers, and actors who have played Bill in various incarnations, it becomes clear that 80 years after his death, Bill Lancaster’s story remains one of great interest and intrigue, and to many, an obsession. Sure, Bill had an unquenchable thirst for flying, and he was a truly epic British adventurer – but who was Bill Lancaster really?
Was he a hero or a murderer? And can you forgive a hero if he does commit murder? Just how far is one willing to go to protect those they love?