World’s Only Flying B-29 Superfortress Headed to Prescott
FRIDAY, MAY 16TH THROUGH SUNDAY, MAY 18TH FROM 9:00 AM TO 6:00 PM
CAF AirPower History Tour will bring FIFI and other rare World War II aircraft.
May 5, 2014 –
Residents of Prescott will witness a rare sight May 15 when the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) iconic Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber FIFI lands at Ernest A. Love Field accompanied by a B-17 Flying Fortress, a P-51 Mustang and several other vintage World War II airplanes. The airplanes will be on display on the west general aviation ramp, 1900 Clubhouse Drive in Prescott through Sunday. Visitors will be able to tour the bomber cockpits and also purchase rides in all of the visiting aircraft.
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, first flown in 1942, began active service in 1944 and is best known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring about the end of World War II. 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 the late 1950s.
FIFI, celebrating her 40th year of flight with the CAF in 2014, will visit local airports in Arizona, California and the Northwest United States this summer as the feature aircraft in the CAF AirPower History Tour. The tour brings aircraft, pilots and crews from over 60 CAF units located throughout the country together to create an ever changing assortment of touring military aircraft. These aircraft are powerful “hands on” history lessons bringing the sights, smells and sounds of World War II aviation history to audiences across the United States.
The cost for admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children age 10 through 17. Children under age 10 are free. All of the airplanes will be on static display when they are not flying. B-29 cockpit tours are included in the admission price and rides are available in all of the airplanes. Ride prices range from $75 to $1795. Ride reservations may be made at www.AirPowerTour.org where additional information about the tour stop can also be found.
The Commemorative Air Force honors the men and women who built, maintained and flew in these airplanes during World War II. The organization believes that is best accomplished by maintaining the airplanes in flying condition; taking the airplanes to the people allowing them to experience the sight and sound of the aircraft in flight.
About the CAF’s B-29 Superfortress, FIFI:
was acquired by the CAF 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 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 every tour stop. Learn more about FIFI and her tour schedule at www.AirPowerTour.org.
About the CAF’s B-17G Sentimental Journey
Sentimental Journey came off the Douglas assembly line in late 1944 and served in the Pacific. The aircraft was assigned to Eglin Field, Florida, for service as an air-sea rescue craft and in 1959 went to military storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. It was then used as a borate bomber, flying thousands of sorties against forest fires throughout the country. In January 1978, #N9323Z was assigned to the newly formed Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force located at Historic Falcon Field in Mesa. It was then authentically restored to original World War II configuration. The plane now visits an average of 60 cities and towns across the United States each year as a patriotic and educational exhibit. For more information, visit www.azcaf.org.
About the P-51 Mustang:
The P-51 is one of the most revered fighters in WWII and possibly the greatest airplane ever designed. It entered service in Europe in the spring of 1944 as a primary long-range escort fighter. It held 1,880 rounds of .50 (fifty) caliber in six guns, a flying range of 1,650 miles with external drop tanks, and a top speed of 440 mph at 30,000 feet. Mustangs were a deadly opponent in battle and destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft in the air, more than any other US fighter in WWII. P-51s were flown in the pacific theater by the end of 1944 and escorted B-29s on long range missions to Japan. More than 13,500 P-51s were built and flown in the U.S. Air Force into the mid 1950s.
About the Commemorative Air Force:
Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force 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 10,000 members and a fleet of over 150 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 67 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.