The last Super Fortress
POSTED: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 5:28pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 10:22am
Today is the 65th anniversary of the United States Air Force.
On this day in 1947, it became a separate service from the army.
This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the first flight of the Boeing B-29.
As World War II raged in Europe and the Pacific, American B-17’s and B-24’s were the workhorses of the US bomber fleet.
But in 1942, a new, huge, fast, long range bomber first flew. And it changes the nature of the war in the Pacific. Now, Japan was truly vulnerable for the first time.
It was the first warplane with a pressurized cabin so the crew could work in shirtsleeves. The gun turrets were remotely operated. And it carried a massive 20,000 pounds of bombs.
And the most famous mission carried only one, the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
After the war, and into the first years of the new Air force, it was the mainstay, even carrying Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1 on the first supersonic flight.
The Commemorative Air Force’s Fifi is the last flying B-29 of the 22 restored planes in existence.
On board for the flight from Dallas, World War II pilot and Congressman Ralph Hall.
She arrived accompanied, as she was for so many missions, by one of the greatest fighter planes of all time, the P-51 Mustang. Also on display, the military version of the Beechcraft Model 18, the C-45 Expeditor.
All will be on display at the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum at Tyler Pounds airport through Thursday.
it’s an overused phrase, but in the case of Fifi, it’s a truly once in a lifetime experience.