World’s Only Flying B-29 Superfortress, To Visit Carolinas Aviation
By Daniel Baxter
May 22, 2012 - The Commemorative Air Force’s iconic
Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, FIFI, the only
remaining flying example of the aircraft in the world is
coming to the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte,
North Carolina on May 25.
The B-29 will arrive with the B-24, Diamond Lil, an
equally rare World War II bomber and one of only two
still flying. The Brat III, an actual combat veteran
P-51 Mustang from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, will
accompany the bombers. All three airplanes will be on
display at the Carolinas Aviation Museum, 4678 First
Flight Drive, Charlotte, North Carolina.
“This is a rare opportunity for people in our community to see the aircraft which won WWII,” said Shawn Dorsch, President of the Museum. “I have no doubt this exhibit will inspire young people in our community to set their sights higher and become successful in life.”
The mission of the Commemorative Air Force is to honor the men
and women who built, maintained and flew in these airplanes
during World War II. The organization believes that mission is
best accomplished by maintaining the airplanes in flying
condition; taking the airplanes to the people allowing them to
experience the sight and sound of the aircraft in flight.
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, first flown in 1942, began active
service in 1944. It is perhaps best known as the aircraft from
which the first atomic bomb was dropped. 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 the
FIFI was acquired by the CAF in the early 1970s when a group of
CAF members found her at the U.S. Navy Proving Ground at China
Lake, California where she was being used as a missile target.
The airplane was rescued and restored and flew for over thirty
years until 2006 when the chief pilot made the decision to
ground her pending a complete power plant re-fit.
What followed was an extensive four year restoration that included replacing all four engines with new custom built hybrid engines. FIFI returned to the sky in 2010 and since that time has traveled coast to coast attracting large crowds at every tour stop.
CAF B-24A Liberator aircraft, built in May 1941, is the 25th B-24
produced by Consolidated Aircraft at their San Diego facility. On a
training flight from Eagles Nest Airport, N.M., prior to its delivery to
England, AM-927 experienced a landing accident. The damage was major
enough that the aircraft had to be returned to San Diego for repairs. As
a result of the accident, she was converted to a personnel and cargo
During the war this B-24 flew scheduled runs between San Diego, Fort
Worth, New York, and Washington D.C. She also carried various American
and foreign dignitaries within the U.S. In 1969 the aircraft was
purchased by the CAF and, in 1971, she was painted in the colors and
markings of the 98th Bomb Group, Pyramiders of the 9th Air Force in
North Africa, and was named Diamond Lil.
The exhibit is sponsored by BAE Systems, Inc. and the Dowd Foundation
and will be at Museum from May 25 to May 30. The exhibit will be open to
the public on Friday, May 25 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, May 26, 9
a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, May 27, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Monday,
May 28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday and Wednesday, May 29 through
30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Located at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the Carolinas Aviation Museum's mission is to educate the public on the importance of aviation and inspire the next generation to excel academically in the areas of math, science, and history through the preservation of our aviation heritage. The museum has been collecting and restoring vintage historical aircraft for more than 20 years, and is the largest aviation museum between Washington, D.C., and Robbins, Ga.
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