The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Airpower History Tour came to the Fargo Air Museum. The CAF were bringing the only flying B-29A Superfortress in existence. I got there early enough not to be rushed and talked with the crew. It sounds like another B-29 will be flying, hopefully by next year. The text below comes from information signs set up around the B-29 by the crew.
This Boeing B-29 Superfortress "Fifi" was acquired by the Commemorative Air Force 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, $3 million 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 airshows, museums and AirPower History Tour stops.
History Designed by Boeing the B-29 was flown primarily by the United States toward the end of World War II and during the Korean War. It was a very advanced bomber for its time, with features such as a pressurized cabin, an electronic fire-control system, and remote-controlled machine-gun turrets. Boeing submitted the design for the Superfortress in May of 1940, in response to a call for the most advanced bomber of the time. Three months later the USAAC approved of the original design, and Boeing began building the prototype. The first flight of the B-29 occurred on 30 December 1942. Due to the Superfortress being the most technical advanced bomber of the time, there were extensive changes and modifications made during the development of the aircraft before it entered service in April of 1944.The B-29 is most well-known for two missions that occurred in August 1945, the missions flown over Hiroshima and Nagasaki that led to the end of World War II. The B-29 would continue to serve in the United States Air Force through the Korean Conflict before being retired in the 1960s. Approximately four thousand aircraft were produced during World War II. Twenty-five aircraft remain today, with only one being airworthy.
Basic Information Crew: 11 (5 Officers, 6 Enlisted) Length: 99 Feet 0 Inches Wingspan: 141 Feet 3 Inches Height: 29 Feet 7 Inches Max Takeoff Weight: 133,500 lbs Engines: Four Wright R-3350 turbo supercharged radial engines rated at 2,000 hp each. Maximum speed: 357 mph ; Cruise speed: 220 mph Combat range: 3,250 Miles ; Service ceiling: 36,000 feet Guns: 10 x.50 inch (12.7 mm) Browning M2/ANs in remote controlled turrets 2 x.50 in and 1 x 20 mm.