EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (March 23, 2011) — Flying again following a four-year renovation, the world’s only airworthy Boeing B-29 “Superfortress,” FIFI, is scheduled to make a much-anticipated appearance at EAA AirVenture 2011 on July 25-31 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
FIFI, which is owned by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and is a part of its B-29/B-24 Squadron based in Addison, Texas, will arrive Tuesday, July 26, and stay through the event’s duration – joining hundreds of other warbirds on display at the 59th annual Fly-In Convention, known as “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.”
The Boeing B-29 “Superfortress,” one of the greatest airplanes during the World War II era, is scheduled to fly during the afternoon air show on Friday, July 29, as part of the day-long veterans salute. FIFI last appeared at AirVenture in 1995.
“The addition of the B-29 to the lineup at EAA AirVenture 2011 further solidifies Oshkosh as the greatest aviation gathering point in the world,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA and AirVenture chairman. “This legendary warbird represents the highest American bomber technology during World War II, and will be an integral piece of the festivities honoring those who served and sacrificed for the freedom we enjoy today.”
FIFI’s appearance also brings country music star and pilot Aaron Tippin to AirVenture 2011 for an evening concert on Saturday, July 30, as part of Commemorative Air Force’s “Red, White & Loud Tour.” The concert will precede the widely popular Night Air Show and Daher-Socata Fireworks, capping a day filled with memorable attractions. Tippin joins REO Speedwagon (Monday, July 25) and Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band (Friday, July 29) as musical acts confirmed for AirVenture 2011.
“We are thrilled to bring the CAF’s ‘Red, White & Loud Tour’ to EAA AirVenture. Country music star Aaron Tippin is a great supporter of our American troops and veterans, as well as the CAF and what we stand for, honoring American military aviation through flight, exhibition, and remembrance,” said Stephan Brown, CAF president/CEO. “Partnering with Aaron to create this tour has allowed the CAF to reach new audiences and we are excited to celebrate America’s freedom through song and the roaring radial engines of the world’s only flying B-29 at one of the greatest aviation events.”
Over the past four years, FIFI was refitted with custom-built engines – combining Wright R-3350-95W and R-3350-26WD powerplants – to replace the Wright R-3350-57AM engine in place since the early 1970s. The refit required reworking the engine mounts and some of the engine cowling. Mechanical difficulties prevented FIFI from making scheduled visits to AirVenture in 2005 and 2006.
The Boeing B-29 “Superfortress,” which was first flown in 1942 and began active service in 1944, is perhaps best known as the aircraft from which the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945. 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 jet bombers began to appear in the late 1950s.
This particular B-29 was saved from use as a ground target for weapons tests in the 1960s and first flown by the CAF in 1971. The B-29 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.