All posts tagged 'Superfortress'

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 Welcomes Back Commemorative Air Force ‘Ghost Squadron’ B-29 And B-24

 
Historic World War II aircraft to participate throughout week at Oshkosh

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (March 19, 2013) — Two of World War II’s most iconic aircraft, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, will be back at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2013 as part of the Commemorative Air Force’s “Ghost Squadron” at The World Greatest Aviation Celebration.

The airplanes will be among the two most noteworthy of the hundreds of warbird aircraft at Oshkosh in 2013, as they will participate in AirVenture air shows during the week. In addition, the B-29 will be available for flights during AirVenture week, based at Outagamie Regional Airport in Appleton (20 miles north).

“These two aircraft are always popular, not only because of their historical importance from the World War II era, but because flying examples of them are so rare,” said Jim DiMatteo, EAA’s vice president of AirVenture features and attractions. “Since Oshkosh is the world’s largest annual gathering of warbird aircraft, the audiences here truly appreciate the airplanes’ roles during the war as well as the tremendous dedication needed to keep ‘em flying.”

The Boeing B-29 FIFI operated by the CAF is the only one still flying in the world. It was discovered at a Navy weapons center near China Lake, Calif., in 1971 and brought to Texas. It was first flown at air shows in 1974 and has been continually restored and upgraded, most recently this past winter with the replacement of the one of the Curtiss-Wright 3350 engines. The airplane 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.

The Consolidated B-24 Diamond Lil came to the CAF in 1969 after a long history of military and civilian service since the bomber was built in 1941. It was originally restored in the colors of the 98th Bomb Group of the 9th Air Force. In 2006, a major restoration project renewed the original B-24A bomber configuration.

The two aircraft make numerous appearances throughout the country during the year, but will be part of the massive annual gathering of former military aircraft that come to Oshkosh. The two airplanes are scheduled to be at EAA AirVenture throughout the week. Flight opportunities aboard the aircraft will be announced in the near future through the https://www.airpowersquadron.org website.

In anticipation of the B-29’s return to Oshkosh, EAA will host a free webinar on March 27 about the history and operation of FIFI. CAF officials will talk about saving and restoring the aircraft, as well as its current operations.

Advance EAA AirVenture tickets at discounted rates, along with camping, parking, flight experiences, and merchandise are available at www.airventure.org/tickets.

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and EAA’s yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at www.airventure.org. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. Immediate news is available at www.twitter.com/EAAupdate.

FIFI, the World's Only Flying B-29 Superfortress, Returns to the Sky

 

Addison, Texas - The Commemorative Air Force's (CAF) famous Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, FIFI - the only remaining flying example of the aircraft in the world - returned to the sky Saturday, January 13 and flew to her home base in Addison, Texas. The flight crew arrived in Midland, Texas and conducted a successful maintenance flight followed by the one and a half hour trip. It was FIFI's first flight since October 2012.

The B-29 experienced trouble with the number two engine and returned safely to the ground during a routine photo mission at the conclusion of AIRSHO. The B-29 is equipped with four radial engines, which are needed to power the massive aircraft. It was determined the number two engine would need major repairs and therefore the aircraft was grounded. For three months maintenance crews worked tirelessly to repair the engine and get this historic aircraft flying again as quickly as possible.

"It's all the difference in the world seeing it fly instead of in a museum," said Preston McPhail, the 70 year old son of a former B-29 mechanic. "You can smell the exhaust from the engines."

And for today's children, FIFI brings a history lesson to life.

"It's hard not to cry, it's real emotional. I'm happy these guys are keeping them flying," said Melanie Skinner, who brought her 8 year old niece to see the B-29 in Lexington, Ky. Skinner went on to say "My niece is a child of the millennium. (To her) World War II is ancient history. To be able to touch them, to feel them, to hear them, that's what history is all about."

A fundraising campaign was launched in November with a goal of raising $200,000 to repair the engine and purchase a replacement. Currently the campaign has raised just over $105,000 to get FIFI flying again, but is still short $95,000 to purchase a 5th engine, a spare, which will ensure continuous future operation and flight. For more information about the FIFI engine fund and how you can help, visit www.keepFIFIflying.org.

Contact:
Kim Pardon, Tour Media
Correspondent
(913) 636-6250
pardon@kc.rr.com

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