A Visit To See Fifi

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My memory of Fifi goes back over 20 years. I was walking the dog one morning and hear the unmistakable sound of a radial-engined plane.

A big plane.

I thought it might be the Collins Foundation B17 in town – or maybe an old DC-6.

I look up and exactly overhead, about 700-1,000 feet AGL was the only flying B-29, the Commemorative Air Force’s Fifi.

What a sight.

To think that Boeing made over 4,000 of these for the astronomical sum of (at the time) $600,000 per plane.  There’s one left in flyable condition, and here it is.

We waited patiently in 100 degree weather under the wing – entrance was through the first bomb bay – we saw the cockpit and exited at the cockpit right behind the nose wheel.

You’ll see the famous tube the crew used to crawl though – in the pressurized plane – from the cockpit to the back. It’s also visible from the top of the bomb bay.

Still an impressive plane even after almost 70 years.

 

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4 Comments

Filed under Flying, History

4 responses to “A Visit To See Fifi

  1. When I was stationed at Kingsley Field in Oregon in the late 80s, I was standing in my buddy’s driveway out in town one night…and heard the unmistakable sound of multiple radial engines…And then she appeared low on her approach to the base, right over our heads. I couldn’t believe they night flew such a valuable air craft, but then again, she does have up to date avionics, so why not?. I visiied her the next day at the air show. It was Fifi 🙂 The one at Hill AFB looks like it could probably be made airworthy. The depot there should take that one on as a project 🙂

    • Bill Brandt

      What surprised me Alan was the condition she was in when they found her – at China Lake – used for missile practice. This is in the 1970s. Something else interesting I thought – I was talking about the engines with one of the crew – the original engines were always troublesome – these Wrights – a slightly different model; have been “trouble free” – there’s about 12 things that are different with them over the original – for one they aren’t turbo-supercharged – just supercharged.

      Had to ask fuel it uses – and was told 450 GPH at economy cruise. Which while a lot, (at $6 per gallon) I was surprised it wasn’t more.

      They fly it about 180 hours per year around the country, which I think is pretty neat.

      There were a lot of people waiting to see it yesterday and that was Friday at 15:00 – imagine what the weekend will bring!

  2. Bill Brandt

    BTW did you see this NOVA program? About the Kee Bird – a B-29 that crash landed in the 1940s – made airworthy – a heartbreaking story

  3. Pingback: A B-29 Memory Amended | The Lexicans

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