Oshkowh, WI -- Two of the greatest airplanes from the World War II era, the Boeing B-29 and Consolidated LB-30 (B-24), will be present at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006 as The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration takes place July 24-30 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
EAA AirVenture 2006, the 54th annual convention of the Experimental Aircraft Association, welcome the airplanes from the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) as part of its "Ghost Squadron," based in Midland, Texas. The B-29 "Fifi" and LB-30 "Diamond Lil" are extremely rare flying examples of these aircraft models, which played significant roles during that conflict.
"The addition of the B-29 and LB-30 to the lineup for EAA AirVenture 2006 again proves that Oshkosh is the greatest aviation gathering point in the world," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman. "These two airplanes represent the highest American bomber technology from the beginning and end of World War II."
The two airplanes are scheduled to arrive on Monday, July 24 (EAA AirVenture's opening day) and remain throughout the event's duration. While at EAA AirVenture, the two airplanes will be parked on the main AeroShell Square showcase ramp. The LB-30 was part of EAA AirVenture's salute to the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II last year, while the B-29 makes its first appearance at Oshkosh since 1995. The B-29 was scheduled to appear at AirVenture 2005 until mechanical difficulties prevented that visit.
The Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" is perhaps best known as the aircraft from which the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945. "Fifi" is the world's only airworthy example of the B-29, which was designed as a replacement for the older B-17s and B-24s, with longer range and greater bomb loads. It was first flown in 1942 and began active service in 1944. 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 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 is named "Fifi" 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.
The Consolidated LB-30 is one of the earliest models of the famed B-24 "Liberator" bomber and the oldest of the only two or three airworthy examples of this airplane that still exist. It was built in 1940 and purchased by Great Britain before the start of that nation's Lend-Lease program with the United States - hence, the LB-30 designation as Consolidated's 30th model in its Land Bomber series. More than 18,000 of the LB-30/B-24 model were produced.
This particular airplane, the 18th off the assembly line, was damaged in an operational accident and never shipped to England. The CAF purchased the aircraft from the Pemex Oil Company of Mexico in 1967 and restored the airplane in the combat markings of the 98th Bomb Group of the 9th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps.
EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH is the world's greatest aviation celebration and EAA's yearly membership convention. EAA members receive substantial discounts on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. EAA AirVenture information is also available through the World Wide Web at www.airventure.org.
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FIFI's will arrive Tuesday, July 26, and Aaron Tippin will perform an evening concert on Saturday, July 30, as part of Commemorative Air Force’s "Red, White & Loud Tour."