Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Fifi by William 74
Fifi, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Fifi is the world's only flying B-29 Superfortress. Of over 3,000 airframes built during the 40's, only twenty odd survive, a pretty small survival rate for such an important airplane. Part of this was simply because it was a heavy, complicated, maintenance intensive airplane, and part of it was due to the evolution of jet fighters and jet bombers, rendering the B-29 obsolete as a bomb-delivering airplane. However, the B-29 and it's variants were still used in many roles, including air-sea rescue, electronic intelligence gathering, weather tracking, and pioneering air-to-air refueling.

Fifi's survival is an interesting story. By the sixties the last few Superforts had been retired, and aside from a few in museums, most of them were in outside storage. The Commemorative Air Force, in trying to acquire one example of all WW2 bombers, had made inquiries into getting a surviving B-29. Eventually, a complete airframe was acquired from the Navy, having been stored at NAS China Lake in the California desert, used as a target for weapons testing. Fifi was the lone undamaged B-29.

We visited her about this time last year (or maybe she us).

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