Long Beach, Calif. (Nov. 9, 2010) – On Wednesday, November 10, at approximately 3:30 p.m., the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) Boeing B-29 Superfortress FIFI will arrive at Long Beach Airport to participate in Airportfest – part of the AOPA Aviation Summit, being held at the airport and the Long Beach Convention Center Thursday through Saturday, November 11-13.
“This will be the first time that the Commemorative Air Force will participate in AOPA Aviation Summit,” said CAF President/CEO Stephan Brown. “It’s an exciting time for the CAF and we are proud to be participating in such an important aviation event. This is FIFI’s first tour since 2006 and AOPA’s Airportfest is a great event to celebrate her return to telling the history of American military aviation through flight.”
Throughout its stay at Airportfest, the world’s only flyable B-29 will be available for cockpit tours and rides. Tours can be arranged on site, while it is recommend that the public pre-purchase their rides by visiting www.cafb29b24.org or calling (432) 413-4100.
“Until recently, private citizens have never had an opportunity to fly in this historic bomber,” said Brown. “The CAF is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to aviation and history enthusiasts. A ride in the B-29 is unlike any flight you’ll experience. The sheer size and power of this aircraft is awe inspiring.”
About AOPA Aviation Summit & Airportfest:
The AOPA Aviation Summit is the annual convention of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and is expected to draw some 10,000 pilots and aviation enthusiasts to Long Beach. While there is a cost to attend the convention center portions of the Aviation Summit, Airportfest is free and open to the public. Along with FIFI, approximately 100 general aviation aircraft will be on display during the three-day event, as well as live music and other fun activities for pilots and the local community alike. Once FIFI has taxied into position and shut down, members of the media will have an opportunity to speak with the crew and to tour this unique piece of flying history. To arrange an interview and/or tour, contact either AOPA Media Relations Director Chris Dancy or Commemorative Air Force Director of Public Relations Autumn Hicks.
About the CAF’s B-29 Superfortress:
When the Commemorative Air Force (then Confederate Air Force) began searching for a B-29 for its collection of historical military aircraft, World War II had been over for 21 years. The Superfortresses that helped end it had long since yielded to new generations of jet-powered strategic bombers and vanished. According to the United States Air Force, no B-29s remained in inventory, even at storage or disposal depots. But the CAF colonels had faith and it paid off.
In 1971, a pilot reported sighting a number of what might have been B-29s in the California desert near China Lake. The CAF learned the aircraft were indeed Superfortresses that had been parked at a Navy weapons center for 17 years. They had been used for gunnery targets and abused by heat, sand and vandals. After much negotiation, paperwork and a painstaking process of elimination to find the best survivor, the CAF added B-29 SN44-62070 to its fleet. That was just the beginning of the task. The complete restoration to CAF standards of airworthiness was a long and expensive project involving more than three years of fund-raising and hard work. Late in 1974, the CAF's B-29 was christened FIFI and joined the other World War II fighters and bombers to preserve the memories and teach lessons of mankind's greatest war. For more information visit www.cafb29b24.org.
About the CAF:
Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 8,000 members and a fleet of 156 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 74 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org