Only flying B-29 returns to Oshkosh

The Commemorative Air Force’s iconic Boeing B-29 bomber FIFI – the only remaining flying example of the aircraft in the world – will return to Oshkosh this year to participate at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012.

The B-29 joins the largest annual gathering of vintage warbirds in the world during the show, which takes place July 23-29 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

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 on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945. 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.

This particular B-29 was saved from use as a ground target for weapons tests in the 1960s and first flown by the CAF in 1971. The B-29 was christened FIFI in 1974 in honor of the wife of Col. Victor N. Agather, who had been on the wartime development team for the aircraft and had been personally committed and involved with the airplane’s restoration in the early 1970s.

Along with the airplane’s usual appearances in static and flying displays at Oshkosh, for the first time in 2012, AirVenture attendees will be able to purchase flights in the aircraft. These flights, based at Outagamie Regional Airport in Appleton, Wis., just 20 miles north of Oshkosh, will operate July 22-29. Complete information and registration details are available at

A once-in-a-lifetime “bucket list” package will be made available for auction on Thursday, July 26, at EAA’s Gathering of Eagles, the annual gala that draws more than 1,000 people and raises funds for EAA’s youth programs that help grow participation in aviation. The winning bidders will fly in the B-29 on Friday, July 27, with Dutch Van Kirk, the B-29 Enola Gay navigator that flew the first atomic bomb mission over Japan in 1945, and with the CAF’s B-25 with Doolittle Raider Dick Cole in the cockpit. The special flight is being coordinated as part of that day’s “Salute to Veterans” at AirVenture 2012, which is honoring “The Greatest Generation in the Air.”

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