Examples of two of World War II’s most revered aircraft, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, “FIFI” and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, “Diamond Lil” have been scheduled to attend EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 as part of the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) “Ghost Squadron.”
The airplanes will participate in AirVenture aerial shows throughout the week with the B-29 being available for flight experiences for the public during the week of the show, based out of the nearby Outagamie Regional Airport in Appleton, Wisconsin. “These two aircraft are always popular, not only because of their historical importance from the World War II era, but because flying examples of them are so rare,” said Jim DiMatteo, EAA’s vice president of AirVenture features and attractions. “Since Oshkosh is the world’s largest annual gathering of warbird aircraft, the audiences here truly appreciate the airplanes’ roles during the war as well as the tremendous dedication needed to keep ’em flying.”
The Boeing B-29, “FIFI”, named for the wife of Colonel Victor N. Agather, who had worked on the wartime development team for the aircraft and was heavily involved with the craft’s initial restoration in the 1970s after the plane was discovered at a Navy weapons center near China Lake, California. She was first flown at air shows starting in 1974 and has been under continuous restoration ever since, its most recent major restoration item being the replacement of one of her Curtiss-Wright 3350 engines this past winter. FIFI is the last flying example of her type left in the world.
The Consolidated B-24, “Diamond Lil”, built in 1941 came to the CAF in 1969 after a long career in both military and civilian service. She was initially restored in the livery of the 98th Bomb Group of the 9th Air Force and in 2006 a major restoration project returned her to her original B-24A bomber configuration.
In anticipation of the B-29’s return to Oshkosh, EAA will host a free webinar on March 27th at 7PM CDT to discuss the history and the challenges and triumphs involved in the restoration and ongoing operation of FIFI.