Tuesday, September 11, 2012

CAF B-29 Superfortress, FIFI, To Tour Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas with Other Historical Aircraft

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) B-29 Superfortress, the famous bomber from World War II and the only remaining flying example of the aircraft in the world, will tour selected cities in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas with several other rare and historic World War II aircraft this fall. The tour kicks off September 18 in Tyler, Texas and will continue with stops at Little Rock, Fayetteville, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City before heading to Midland, Texas for the CAF annual Airsho October 12 to 14. (Photo courtesy Scott Slocum)
The B-29 will be joined by a rare combat veteran P-51 Mustang from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, The Brat III, for most stops. The airplanes will also be accompanied by a C-45 Expeditor and a Stearman biplane, as well as locally owned military airplanes at each stop. The CAF P-51 Mustang, Gunfighter, will join the tour at stops in Tulsa and Midland, Texas.
The exhibition will be open until 7:00 p.m. most nights, allowing school children and working adults time to explore these rare historical treasures.  
The aircraft are fully restored to their authentic wartime configuration. Events are open to the public and will allow attendees to get up close to these famous World War II aircraft, watch them in flight and talk to the crews. When the aircraft are not in motion, cockpit tours of the B-29 will be available. There will be opportunities for attendees to purchase a ride in all aircraft at all of the stops. Ride reservations are recommended. Visit www.RideB29.com for more information about the tour schedule and to make ride reservations.
The stops include:
·        September 18-20    Historic Aviation Memorial Museum, Tyler Pounds Airport, Tyler, Texas
·        September 22-23    Central Flying Service, Adams Field Airport, Little Rock, Arkansas
·        September 24-26    Arkansas Air and Military Museum, Drake Field, Fayetteville
·        September 28-30    Tulsa Air and Space Museum, Tulsa International Airport, Tulsa
·        October 3-7              Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
·        October 12-14         AirSho, Midland, Texas
·        October 20               Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison, Texas
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:
The Boeing B-29 "Superfortress," which was first flown in 1942 and began active service in 1944, is perhaps best known as the aircraft from which the first atomic bomb was dropped. 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 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.CAFB29B24.org.  
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 8,000 members and a fleet of 156 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 74 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.
About the Cavanaugh Flight Museum P-51D Mustang, The Brat III
The museum's P-51D was manufactured in 1944 and shipped to England. It was assigned to the 9th Air Force, 370th Fighter Group, 401st Fighter Squadron, and flown by Lt. Hjalmar Johnsen. In June 1947 it was sold to the Swedish Air Force and served as Flygyapnet (FV) Serial No. 26115 based at F-4, Ostersund. Between 1952 and 1953 it was sold to the Dominican Republic and served as Fuerza Aerea Dominica Serial No. 1918 until 1984 when it was retired from active service. Following the restoration that was completed in 2011, the plane was again painted in the markings of Lt. Hjalmar Johnsen.  

About the Cavanaugh Flight Museum
The Cavanaugh Flight Museum opened in October 1993, the brainchild of its founder, entrepreneur Jim Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh placed his growing collection of historic aircraft in the new museum. The Cavanaugh Flight Museum is devoted to promoting aviation studies and to perpetuating America's aviation heritage; the museum fulfills its mission by restoring, operating, maintaining and displaying historically-significant, vintage aircraft, and by collecting materials related to the history of aviation. For more information, visit www.cavanaughflightmuseum.com.

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