World's only flying Superfortress touches down in Valdosta - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

World's only flying Superfortress touches down in Valdosta

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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Airplane fans witnessed a rare sight when the Commemorative Air Force's (CAF) iconic Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber "FIFI" -- the only remaining flying example of the aircraft in the world --- landed at Valdosta Regional Airport Monday.

"FiFi" is accompanied by the famous C-45 Expeditor "Bucket of Bolts" and a PT-17 Stearman.

The aircraft, all part of the CAF AirPower History Tour, will be on display and offering rides. Visitors will also have the opportunity to tour the B-29. The ramp will be open to the public Monday through Wednesday, March 31 through April 2.

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. FIFI, celebrating her 40th year of flight with the CAF in 2014, has visited local airports in 11 Southeast U.S. cities this February and March as the feature aircraft in the CAF AirPower History Tour.

The tour brings aircraft, pilots and crews from over 70 CAF units across the country together to create an ever changing assortment of touring military aircraft. The airplanes bring the sights, smells and sounds of World War II aviation history to audiences across the United States. These aircraft are powerful "hands on" history lessons for young and old alike. The cost for admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children over age 10 and under age 18. Children age 10 and under 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 most of the airplanes. Ride prices range from $75 to $1595.

Ride reservations may be made at www.AirPowerTour.org where additional information about each 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.

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.

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