B-29 Superfortress Flew Missions in Japan and Korea

Come see the plane

FIFI the B-29 Superfortress and other visiting vintage airplanes will be available for tours and rides today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission, which includes a tour of the B-29 cockpit, is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 10-17 and free for children younger than 10. The price of rides in the planes ranges from $75 to $1,795. To book a ride, go to airpowertour.org.

The only flying B-29 Superfortress airplane — a World War II model — will be available for tours and rides today at the Santa Maria Public Airport along with other vintage military aircraft.

The B-29, on display from the Commemorative Air Force, is named FIFI and flew missions above Japan during WWII and Korea during the conflict on that peninsula, according to a press release from the organization. The fleet of planes landed Tuesday.

FIFI’s missions helped end war in the Pacific theatre, according to the press release. It was first flown in 1942 after the B-29 line was produced to replace the older B-17s and B-24s. The B-29 introduced longer ranges and greater bomb loads to the U.S. military presence than the older planes and continued in use in the Air Force until the late 1950s.

A P-51 Mustang, C-45 Expeditor, T-6 and Fairchild PT-19 will join the B-29 on display at the airport behind the Raddison Hotel. The P-51 line entered service in Europe in 1944 as a long-range escort fighter and destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft, more than any other type of plane according to the release.

The CAF has a fleet of more than 150 vintage airplanes which it takes on tour throughout the country. Before coming to Santa Maria, the planes now sitting at the airport visited Bakersfield, Lancaster and Prescott, Ariz. After the All-America City, they will go on to Salinas, Modesto, Sacramento and four other stops.

CAF took possession of FIFI in the early 1970s after discovering that the craft was being used as a missile target at the U.S. Navy Proving Ground at China Lake in eastern Kern County. The plane flew for another 30 years until it was grounded in 2006. The plane then went through a four-year restoration process in which all four engines were replaced with custom engines. It began flying again in 2010.

 

May 28, 2014  Santa Maria Times