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Aviation History And Aircraft Photography

B-29 — The Superfortress Survivors

Shortly after WWII, a small number of Texas veterans purchased surplus WWII aircraft, often for little more than their scrap value, and used them as weekend aerial hot-rods. As a joke, one of these Texans painted the words "Confederate Air Force" on the fuselage of a friends surplus fighter aircraft. The joke turned into a club, and the club soon had the idea to preserve, in flying condition, one example of every US aircraft type to serve in WWII. As time passed, Confederate Air Force badly wanted a B-29 bomber. Without it, the collection could never be considered to be complete.

As the CAF members looked around, they found that only a very few B-29s still existed after they were retired following the Korean conflict. The two atomic bombers still existed, Enola Gay and Bock's Car, plus one or two more were in storage for museums. Just when it looked like finding a B-29 would be impossible, fate brought a remarkable discovery. CAF member Roger Baker spotted what looked like a group of B-29 airframes on the bombing range at China Lake, a highly secret US Navy weapons testing base in the California dessert.

The CAF contacted the US Navy, who replied that they did in fact have no B-29 aircraft. The disconnect is classic military red tape. The US Air Force gave the "government issued property - aircraft" to the US Navy in 1954. The US Navy accepted "government issued property - static ordinance testing devices". So, the Navy was right after all, they didn't have any old USAF airplanes. Once the red tape was sorted out, it was confirmed that upwards of 50 Superfortress airframes has been sent to China Lake. Some were destroyed, some blown up, some were cut up, but a surprising number were still in good condition.

Boeing B-29                 Boeing B-29

The CAF was granted the right to pick the first aircraft. They picked S/N 44-62070, spent several weeks cleaning it up, and then flew it out of China Lake in 1971. Fifi remains the only active B-29 today. Another 30 Superfortress sections were brought out of China Lake, resulting in the vast majority of the B-29s that are now on display at air museums across the US. Some of these museum aircraft are composites of sections from as many as two or three airframes. The last B-29 was pulled out of China Lake in the late 1990's. She is Doc, one of the B-29s painted up as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Doc is currently in Wichita, Kansas, being restored to flight status. It is hoped that she will be the second airworthy Superfortress before the end of the decade.

The USAAF built the B-32 Dominator as a backup to the B-29 in the event that the B-29 project failed. The B-32 resulted in only a handful of aircraft, all of which were scrapped after WWII. It is frightening to think that one of the most important aircraft types ever produced, the B-29 Stratofortress, might be similarly extinct today had it not been for this cache of bombing targets that were long forgotten in the high dessert.

B-29 Superfortress Currently Active

Serial Number Aircraft Type Nickname City State Location Notes
44-62070 B-29A Fifi Midland TX Commemorative Air Force, B-24/B-29 Wing Currently the only active B-29
Note—click on the Serial Number to see a photo of each airplane.

B-29 Superfortress On Static Display

Serial Number Aircraft Type Nickname City State Location Notes
42-65281 B-29 Miss America 62 Fairfield CA Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum Displayed outdoors. On the grounds of Travis AFB.
42-93967 B-29A City Of Lansford Cordele GA Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park Displayed outdoors.
44-27297 B-29 Bock's Car Dayton OH USAF Museum Displayed indoors, carried 2nd atomic bomb.
44-27343 B-29 Tinker's Heritage Oklahoma City OK Tinker AFB Displayed outdoors.
44-61669 B-29A Three Feathers Riverside CA March Field Museum Displayed outdoors.
44-61671 B-29A The Great Artiste Knob Noster MO Whiteman AFB Gate guard at west gate.
44-61975 B-29A Jack's Hack Windsor Locks CT New England Air Museum Damaged by tornado, restored, moved to a purpose-built hangar.
44-62022 B-29 Peachy Pueblo CO Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum Moved indoors 2005 to a purpose-built hangar.
44-62220 B-29 Joltin Josie San Antonio TX USAF History & Traditions Museum Displayed outdoors. On the grounds of Lackland AFB.
44-69729 B-29A T Square 54 Seattle WA Seattle Museum Of Flight Reportedly not on display in 2005.
44-69972 B-29A Doc Wichita KS Kansas Aviation Museum Being restored to active flight status.
44-70016 B-29A Sentimental Journey Tucson AZ Pima Air And Space Museum Displayed indoors.
44-70064 B-29A Raz'n Hell Atwater CA Castle Air Museum Displayed outdoors.
44-70113 B-29 Sweet Eloise Marietta GA Dobbins Air Force Base Displayed outdoors.
44-84053 TB-29B Big Red Warner Robins GA Museum Of Aviation Displayed indoors.
44-84076 TB-29B Man'O'War Ashland NE Strategic Air And Space Museum Displayed indoors.
44-86292 B-29 Enola Gay Washington DC National Air And Space Museum Displayed indoors at new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
44-86408 B-29 Haggerty's Hag Ogden UT Hill Aerospace Museum Displayed outdoors.
44-87627 B-29A N/A Shreveport LA 8th Air Force Museum Displayed outdoors.
44-87779 KB-29M Legal Eagle II Rapid City SD South Dakota Air And Space Museum Displayed outdoors.
45-21748 B-29 Unnamed Albuquerque NM National Museum Of Nuclear Science & History Displayed outdoors, former Chanute AFB display.
Note—click on the Serial Number to see a photo of each airplane.

B-29 Superfortress Overseas

Serial Number Aircraft Type Nickname City State Location Notes
44-61748 B-29 It's Hawg Wild Duxford England American Air Museum Displayed indoors.
45-21739 B-29 Unification Sachon South Korea KAI Aerospace Museum Displayed indoors in new museum building.
Note—click on the Serial Number to see a photo of each airplane.

B-29 Superfortress Hulks

Serial Number Aircraft Type Nickname City State Location Notes
42-24791 B-29 The Big Time Operator ??? MD QuestMasters Nose section only.
42-65287 B-29   Aquadilla Puerto Rico In The Ocean Discovered under water off the coast.
42-65401 B-29   Stockton CA Nick Veronico Nose section only, privately owned.
44-61739 B-29   Warner-Robins GA Museum Of Aviation Nose section only.
44-62112 B-29   Tucson AZ Pima Aerospace Museum Nose section only, rear fuselage at Disney studios.
44-70049 B-29   Chino CA Aero Trader In storage at Borrego Springs, CA, for Kermit Weeks.
44-70102 B-29 Here's Hopin Inyokern CA China Lake NAF Unconfirmed report of being restored for new China Lake museum.
44-83905 KB-29B Lady Of The Lake   AK Ellison AFB Ran off runway, abandoned in place, lake formed around aircraft.
44-84084 B-29   Chino CA Aero Trader I have conflicting data on ownership. Some say Aero Trader, some say Kermit Weeks, Fantasy Of Flight, Florida.
44-87657 B-29 Command Decision Dayton OH USAF Museum Fuselage section only, painted in false markings with S/N 44-62139.
45-21763 B-29 Kee Bird   Greenland On Ice Pack Fuselage burned in fire prior to first flight during recovery.
45-21787 P2B-1S Fertile Myrtle Lakeland FL Florida Air Museum Navy version, carried D-558-II Skyrocket aircraft, nose section only.
45-21847 B-29   Las Vegas NV In Lake Mead Ditched in Lake Mead in 1948, discovered intact in early 2000's.
Note—click on the Serial Number to see a photo of each airplane.

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2016, all rights reserved.
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