FIFI, the world's only flyable B-29, returns to the air

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After several years of extensive maintenance, the world’s only flyable Boeing B-29 returned to the sky last week.

The Commemorative Air Force’s “FIFI” left a runway at the Midland International Airport (MAF) in Midland, Texas on Aug. 5 for a 39-minute flight.

The CAF Airpower Museum held a public event last weekend to allow spectators to watch pre-flight preparations for the B-29, a World War II-era super bomber. Likely, the most famous B-29 was the Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

In the 1960s, the CAF sought out to acquire and fly a Superfortress, the quad-propped predecessor to the B-52 and other bombers.  The United States Air Force said none remained in inventory.

Then a pilot spotted several in the California desert in 1971, run down, vandalized and used for naval target practice. The CAF acquired FIFI and, following three years of restoration, it returned to flight in 1974.

Engine problems again led to the plane being grounded before the CAF and the Cavanaugh Flight Museum put up $1.2 million to reconfigure the aircraft.

Today we salute a giangantic piece of military history that once again is wheels up. Read more about the celebration here.