January 28, 2013
By Jim Moore
The Commemorative Air Force B-29 "Fifi," seen here getting a routine preflight at Sun 'n Fun 2012, was grounded for about three months by a failed radial engine.
The last flying B-29 Superfortress is back in the air, thanks to a six-figure response to an urgent plea for donations from the Commemorative Air Force in November, after Fifi blew an engine in October.
The CAF announced Jan. 24 that Fifi is back in the air, after donors chipped in $105,000 for repairs. CAF still hopes to raise another $95,000 to purchase a backup engine for the vintage bomber.
The B-29 keeps a busy schedule, touring the country as a living museum, giving rides that bring history to life for veterans and a younger generation alike. The B-29’s captain, interviewed at Sun ‘n Fun 2012, is part of that younger generation; AOPA Live also took a ride with one of the only female pilots to fly the B-29 during the war.
The CAF maintains a massive fleet of warbirds based in various chapters around the country, and Fifi is among the stars of the fleet. Mechanics were able to finish the repairs and Fifi flew home to Addison, Texas on Jan. 13.
Around the World Flight,
The next stop is Putrajaya, Malaysia, on May 17 and 18 for the 2014 Red Bill Air Race World Championship, following an “electrifying” contest in Rovinj, Croatia.
The National Aeronautic Association has awarded the Collier Trophy for “the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.”
The site of AOPA's first regional fly-in is at once modern and rich with history, and ready to welcome pilots.
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