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World's Only Flying B-29 Superfortress Coming to Atlanta

5/13/2013


(Addison, Texas – May 15, 2013) Atlanta residents will witness a rare sight Monday, May 20, when the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) famous Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, FIFI -- the only remaining flying example of the aircraft in the world – flies into DeKalb-Peachtree Airport accompanied by the P-51 Mustang Red Nose, Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless and other historic World War II airplanes. The tour features a T-6 Texan, a C-45 Expeditor and a PT-26 Cornell. Rides are available in all of the attending aircraft.

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, first flown in 1942, began active service in 1944 and is perhaps 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.

Pilot Sarah Wilson and her Jimmie Allen Flying Club Stearman Speedmail will also be on the ramp. Visitors will re-live the excitement and adventure of aviation prior to World War II. The airplane, delivered to the Richfield Oil Company in 1929, was the flagship for the Jimmie Allen Flying Club based on the popular radio program The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen. In the 1930s, airplanes, air races, speed records, and long distance flights were in the newspaper almost every day and kids were fascinated with flying and “airplane crazy.” Pilots named Lindbergh, Doolittle, and Earhart were real life heroes, but there were other aviation heroes who came right into America’s living rooms each night over the radio. If these pilots were the rock stars of their day, then Jimmie Allen was the biggest teen idol. This plane made public appearances across the country with the actor Jimmie Allen in the front seat to meet members of the Jimmie Allen Flying Club and was actually flown by Charles Lindbergh on April 2, 1930 at Burbank Airport in California. More information about Sarah and her airplane Buddy can be found at www.SarahWilsonPilot.com.  

The event, which takes place at Epps Aviation, 1 Aviation Way, is open to the public and will allow attendees to get up close to these famous military aircraft. Gates are open from 2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday and 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission cost is $10 per person and $20 for mom, dad and kids. Cockpit tours of the B-29 will be available when the airplane is not in motion. There are opportunities for attendees to purchase a ride in the airplanes. Visit www.AirPowerTour.org for more information about the tour schedule and to make ride reservations. The cost for airplane rides in these airplanes range between $65 and $1895. There is a discount if purchased on line.

The mission of the Commemorative Air Force is to honor the men and women who built, maintained and flew in these airplanes during World War II. The organization believes that mission 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:

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 P-51 Mustang Red Nose:

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 in the role 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-51’s were flown in the pacific theater by the end of 1944 and escorted B-29’s on long range missions to Japan. More than 13,500 P-51’s were built and flew for the Air Force into the mid 1950s. Red Nose is operated by the CAF Dixie Wing in Peachtree City, Georgia.  

About the AirPower History Tour:  

The B-29/B-24 Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force brings together the aircraft, pilots and crews from over 70 CAF units across the country to create the AirPower Squadron – an ever changing assortment of military aircraft touring together to bring the sights, smells and sounds of World War II aviation history to audiences across the United States.

The AirPower Squadron always includes at least one of the two rarest World War II bombers in the world – FIFI, the only flying Boeing B-29 Superfortress and Diamond Lil, an equally rare B-24 Liberator. Aircraft accompanying the B-29 or B-24 will include other World War II aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-25 Mitchell along with an assortment of fighters, trainers and liaison aircraft.

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 153 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 70 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.