Last flying B-29 grounded, faces costly repair

During the last airshow flight of the season, the world’s only flying B-29 Superfortress, FIFI, experienced an engine problem. The crew returned the airplane safely to the ground, but it was soon determined that FIFI’s number two engine would need major repairs. In response, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) has launched a major fund raising campaign to raise money for one of the world’s most famous World War II bombers.

At nearly $10,000 and 100 volunteer hours per hour of flight, keeping FIFI in the air is no easy task, according to CAF officials, who estimate the cost for repairs to the number two engine and the purchase of a spare will top $250,000. The Keep FIFI Flying campaign’s goal is to raise those funds, ensuring continuous future operation and flight.

“The number of World War II veterans is dwindling every day,” said Neils Agather, commander of the B-29 Squadron of the CAF that operates the aircraft. “Our mission is to preserve the living legacy of the Greatest Generation and we intend to do all we can to preserve their story of sacrifice and honor.”

FIFI is a traveling piece of military history, flying to airshows and tour stops all over the country demonstrating to young and old the sights, smells and sounds of history, CAF officials explain.

“But the continued flight of FIFI is at risk,” Agather continued. “We need your help, each one doing a little bit, to continue to spread the message.”

For more information about the campaign, visit KeepFifiFlying.com.

In 1957, a small group of ex-service pilots pooled their money to purchase a P-51 Mustang, beginning what is now called the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). With the addition of a pair of F8F Bearcats, the CAF became the founders of the Warbird Movement, an effort to preserve and honor our military history with the rallying cry to “Keep ‘Em Flying!” Now, 55 years later, the CAF is the premier Warbird organization, operating 156 vintage aircraft in Honor of American Military Aviation. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 9,000 members and its fleet of historic aircraft is distributed to 73 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information, visit CommemorativeAirForce.org or call 432-563-1000.

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