Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Worlds Last Flyable B-29 Superfortress Visits Oshkosh AirVenture

B-29 Superfortress taxing at the Wittman Airport.

FIFI” on short final to Runway 36 at Oshkosh on Tuesday. Photo by Brady Lane/EAA.

B-29 draws immediate interest from the crowd after its arrival at AirVenture 2011. Photo by Brady Lane/EAA.

The worlds only airworthy Boeing B-29 Superfortress visited the Oshkosh EAA AirVenture 2011. The B-29 Superfortress is flying again following a four-year renovation. FIFI "Superfortress" has been highly anticipated and brought many enthusiasts to the EAA AirVenture at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

FIFI, which is owned by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and is a part of its B-29/B-24 Squadron based in Addison, Texas, arrived on Tuesday, July 26, and stayed through the event’s duration – joining hundreds of other warbirds on display at the 59th annual Fly-In Convention, known as “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.”

The Boeing B-29 “Superfortress,” one of the greatest airplanes during the World War II era, flew during the afternoon air show on Friday, July 29, as part of the day-long veterans salute. FIFI last appeared at AirVenture in 1995.

Over the past four years, FIFI was refitted with custom-built engines – combining Wright R-3350-95W and R-3350-26WD powerplants – to replace the Wright R-3350-57AM engine in place since the early 1970s. The refit required reworking the engine mounts and some of the engine cowling. Mechanical difficulties prevented FIFI from making scheduled visits to AirVenture in 2005 and 2006.

The Boeing B-29 “Superfortress,” which was first flown in 1942 and began active service in 1944, is perhaps best known as the aircraft from which the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945. It was designed as a replacement for the older B-17s and B-24s, with longer range and greater bomb loads. The B-29 was also used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S. Air Force until jet bombers began to appear in the late 1950s.

This particular B-29 was saved from use as a ground target for weapons tests in the 1960s and first flown by the CAF in 1971. The B-29 was christened FIFI in 1974 in honor of the wife of Col. Victor N. Agather, who had been on the wartime development team for the aircraft and had been personally committed and involved with the airplane’s restoration in the early 1970s.

Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 8,000 members and a fleet of more than 150 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 73 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org or call (432) 563-1000

Source: Planenews Aviation News

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