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Boeing B-29 Superfortress Survivors: Wikis

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B-29A 44-61669
49 Three Feathers
March Field Air Museum

Boeing B-29 Survivors highlights the history of many well known flying and static display Boeing B-29s in the United States. A list is also provided of other B-29s on display around the world; including location, model and serial numbers, brief history, nicknames/markings, and conditions.

Contents

Background

In September 1945, immediately after the surrender of Japan, all contracts for further production of the B-29 were terminated after 3,970 aircraft (2,766 by Boeing Aircraft, 668 by Bell Aircraft and 536 by Glenn L. Martin Co.) were accepted by the USAAF. Uncompleted airframes at the Boeing Plant in Wichita, Kansas plant were stripped of all overnment Furnished equipment and scrapped on the flightline.

A vast majority all of the B-29s were stored by a new process of cocooning, however, this process trapped heat and moisture resulting in numerous airframes being damaged by this process (primarily the avionics and instruments). Between 1946 and 1949, many early and high time combat veteran aircraft were sold or scrapped – none were released to civilian use.

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B-50 was introduced

While the B-29 was still considered useful in the post WWII inventory, the numerous problems with development, (i.e. including the freezing of the design in 1942) and the fear that the postwar congress would not fund the purchase of a design that still had significant quantity in storage, led to the radically redeveloped B-29D being redesignated the B-50A. While the B-50A looked similar to the B-29, Boeing had redeveloped the airframe with a new stronger alloy skin, redesigned main spar, taller vertical stabilizer and improved engine cowlings. Additionally, the engines were changed to the R-4360 which produced higher power, had better cooling and were less prone to failure.

Korean War and super bomber designs

In 1947, with the advent of the USAF, the B-29 was redesignated as a medium bomber. With the new heavy bombers in production B-36 Peacemaker and Northrop YB-49 and the planned production of the both the B-47 Stratojet and the B-52 Stratofortress becoming a reality, the Superfortress was quickly starting to become eclipsed by technology. It was only the advent of the Korean War in 1950, which slowed down the retirement of the B-29. Once again, the Superfortress was pressed into combat; while for the first 6 months the B-29 was able to hold its own, the introduction of jet fighters such as the Mig-15 ended its usefulness; the B-29 was too slow and its defences were inadequate against fast moving jets. By 1953, except for some RB-29s, B-29s were withdrawn from combat. The remaining B-29s in service were then redesignated as Training (TB-29) , Photo Recon (RB-29/F-13), Air-Sea Rescue (SB-29) and refueling/tanker (KB-29M) aircraft. The last USAF flight was in September 1960.

Loaned to the UK

As a stop-gap measure between the Lancaster and Lincoln propeller-driven heavy bombers and new jet V-Bombers, the Royal Air Force operated 88 leased B-29s in the early 1950s. These received the service name Washington Bomber Mark I. The Washingtons remained in service until late 1958 when they were retired and returned to the United States. Several Washingtons were given to Australia, but within one year they were retired and scrapped.

NACA and the X-planes

The B-29 did enjoy limited success post war as a flying testbed, being used with NACA to carry the early rocket aircraft (X-1, X-1A, D-558-2 etc…), prototype jet engine testing, electronic test ships, High Altitude Atmospheric tests, etc…

The majority of the surviving B-29 came from airframes that had either been designated (with the US Navy at NAWS China Lake), initially, as target-tow aircraft, then unmanned target aircraft, finally as a ground target (the last B-29 destroyed was in 1981 more than 6 years after a ban had been placed on further using these aircraft as targets). Furthermore, B-29s were used at Aberdeen Proving Grounds as ground targets and survivability studies.

Museum acquisitions of B-29s

In 1966, the then fledgling Confederate Air Force, in their quest to gather an example of all the remaining WWII bombers attempted to track down a B-29. At this time, except for two noted museum aircraft, the B-29 was considered an almost extinct aircraft. Rumors of B-29s existing at Aberdeen revealed several airframes, but due to the closeness of ocean air, these aircraft were corroded close to the point of unrestorability. In 1970 came the discovery of the US Navy fleet of aircraft at NAS China Lake – these aircraft being used/stored in the desert air were in much better shape. After a year of negotiation, the CAF was able to obtain their B-29 (Fifi). These same negotiations also allowed the IWM to obtain an example as well (Its Hawg Wild). During the early 1970s, NASA (the redesigned NACA) sold their P2B-1s and for numerous years this aircraft flew under civil registration until it was grounded by spar corrosion.

Since the early 1970s, numerous aircraft have been removed from Aberdeen Proving Grounds as well as NAS China Lake for museum displays – the last B-29 removed from China Lake is currently being restored to flying condition (Doc). There are still two partial airframes and one wreck at the NAS China Lake site. Several other aircraft were noted as late as 1980 but these aircraft have disappeared – several having possibly been used in the Disney Picture Last Flight of Noah’s Ark (which seriously damaged or destroyed numerous airframes) during production. Additional aircraft have been discovered at both post-war crash sites and near WWII Pacific airfields. At least four B-29 wrecks on Guam and several on Saipan are known to exist. There is a search for the first B-29 to bomb Japan, Dauntless Dottie[1] which crashed into the Pacific Ocean on take-off during her return flight to the United States. If the airplane is found there are plans to recover and restore it for display. In 1995 an attempt to recover the Kee Bird, which had crashed in 1947 in northern Greenland, resulted in the complete destruction of the plane.

Notable individual aircraft

B-29-45MO 44-27297
Bockscar
USAF Museum
Bockscar

Bockscar, serial number 44-27297, was a "Silverplate" (atomic bomb carrier) conversion with the 393d Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group. On 9 August 1945 it dropped the "Fat Man" plutonium atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Bockscar was stored for many years and then was finally flown on 26 September 1961 to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. It is the featured exhibit upon entry into the Museum's Air Power gallery.[2]

Doc

Serial number 44-69972 served in the Korean War and was later used as a radar trainer and ballistic missile target. The airframe was acquired by the United States Aviation Museum for restoration to flight status. After a great deal of work at the Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas where it was originally built, the aircraft was moved in March 2007 to the Kansas Aviation Museum.

Enola Gay
B-29-45MO 44-86292
Enola Gay
NASM

Enola Gay, serial number 44-86292, was another "Silverplate" conversion for the 393rd Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group. On 6 August 1945 it dropped the "Little Boy" uranium atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. For many years it was in storage at Paul Garber facility at National Air and Space Museum(NASM), Washington, D.C. It was recently re-assembled after a lengthy restoration and currently displayed at the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport.

Fertile Myrtle

Bureau number 84029 (Navy P2B-1S), formerly a USAF B-29-95-BW 45-21787, was later used to carry the Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket research aircraft. It was donated to an aviation museum in Oakland, California in 1984, and then later sold to the Kermit Weeks' Fantasy of Flight museum in Polk City, Florida. It is on the US Civil register as N29KW.

Fifi

Serial number 44-62070 belongs to the Commemorative Air Force and is the only airworthy B-29 in the world at present. Fifi has been grounded since 2006 because of problems with all four engines. In 2008, the Commemorative Air Force and the Cavanaugh Flight Museum announced that FiFi will be reengined.[3], and be returned to flight status. On 15 June 2009,the first of four new engines has been installed.[4]

Haggerty's Hag

Serial number 44-86408 was delivered to USAAF the day the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic weapon on Hiroshima, Japan. It was later used to collect radioactive samples during postwar atomic tests, and is now on display at Hill Air Force Base Museum, Utah.

Peachy
B-29A-60BN 44-62022
Peachy
Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum

Serial number 44-62022 is currently on display inside the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum and is named in honor of all the crews who fought in the Pacific Theater. A B-29 by that name was piloted by a native of Pueblo, Lt. Robert T. Haver, who gave it his pet name for a younger sister. The original Peachy flew 35 combat missions into enemy territory from Tinian Island in the Marianas islands chain in the central Pacific. This aircraft was donated to the museum in 1976 by the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, CA; and in 2005 it was moved indoors.

Sentimental Journey

Serial number 44-70016 originally flew with the 330th Bomb Group, 20th Air Force from Guam, now displayed at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.

T-Square-54

Serial number 44-69729 (No. 54) was assigned to the 875th Bomb Squadron, 498th Bomb Group, 73d Bomb Wing and completed thirty-seven bombing missions before it was converted to a KB-29 aerial refueling tanker in June 1949. In 1986 it was removed from the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and transported to the Lowry Heritage Museum at Lowry Air Force Base;[5] now Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. No. 54 went through its initial level of restoration in 1987 with museum volunteers and was readied for Lowry AFB's 50th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the USAF on 2 October 1987. It was restored to its 1944 markings with the "T Square 54" on its vertical stabilizer. In 1995 the USAF Museum transferred T-Sq-54 to the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. After another level of restoration and change in its markings, it was displayed again 1996.

Sweet Eloise

Serial number 44-70113 also flew with the 73rd Bomb Wing, 20th Air Force. Eloise was decommissioned in 1956 and stored until the Marietta B-29 Association sponsored restoration in 1994 and put it on display at Dobbins ARB, Georgia.

B-29A-40BN 44-61671
The Great Artiste
Whiteman Air Force Base
(Silverplate Project)

B-29 survivors

Active Flying Status (1 airframe)

  • B-29A AF Serial No. 44-62070 Fi-Fi. This aircraft is operating with the Commemorative Air Force, B-24/B-29 Wing out of Midland, TX.

Displayed in the United States (21 airframes)

  • B-29 AF Serial No. 42-65281 Miss America 62. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum on Travis AFB in Fairfield, CA.
  • B-29A AF Serial No. 42-93967 City Of Lansford. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at the Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park in Cordelle, GA.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 44-27343 Tinker's Heritage. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City, OK.
  • B-29A AF Serial No. 44-61669 Flagship 500. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at March Field Museum at March ARB in Riverside, CA.
  • B-29A AF Serial No. 44-61671 The Great Artiste. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at Whiteman AFB in Knob Noster, MO.
  • B-29A AF Serial No. 44-61975 Jack's Hack. This aircraft is displayed indoors at New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 44-62022 Peachy. This aircraft is displayed indoors at Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum in Pueblo, CO.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 44-62220 Joltin Josie. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at the USAF History & Traditions Museum on the grounds of Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX.
  • B-29A AF Serial No. 44-69729 T Square 54. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at the Seattle Museum Of Flight in Seattle, WA.
  • B-29A AF Serial No. 44-69972 Doc. This aircraft was being restored to active flying status. However, money for the project ran out and it is now stored indoors at Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita, KS.
  • B-29A AF Serial No. 44-70064 Raz'n Hell. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at the Castle Air Museum at the former Castle AFB in Atwater, CA.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 44-70113 Sweet Eloise. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at Dobbins ARB in Marietta, GA.
  • TB-29B AF Serial No. 44-84053 Big Red. This aircraft is displayed indoors at the Museum Of Aviation at Robins AFB in Warner Robbins, GA.
  • TB-29B AF Serial No. 44-84076 Man'O'War. This aircraft is displayed indoors at the Strategic Air And Space Museum adjacent to Offutt AFB in Ashland, NE.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 44-86292 Enola Gay. This aircraft is displayed indoors at the National Air And Space Museum in Washington, DC.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 44-86408 Haggerty's Hag. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at the Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill AFB in Ogden, UT.
  • B-29A AF Serial No. 44-87627 unnamed. This aircraft, which is unnamed, is displayed outdoors at the 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, LA.
  • KB-29M AF Serial No. 44-87779 Legal Eagle II. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at the South Dakota Air And Space Museum adjacent to Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, SD.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 45-21748 Duke Of Albuquerque. This aircraft is displayed outdoors at the National Atomic Museum adjacent to Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM.

Displayed outside of the United States (2 airframes)

  • B-29 AF Serial No. 44-61748 It's Hawg Wild. This aircraft is displayed indoors at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, England.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 45-21739 Unification. This aircraft is displayed indoors at the KAI Aerospace Museum in Sachon, South Korea.

Wrecks, Hulks and Partial Airframes (13)

  • B-29 AF Serial No. 42-24791 The Big Time Operator. Nose section only. It is at the Beale AFB Museum in Marysville, CA, which is currently closed.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 42-65287. In the ocean off the coast of Aquadilla, Puerto Rico, near the former Ramey AFB.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 42-65401. Nose section only. Privately owned by Nick Veronico in Stockton, CA.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 44-61739. Nose section only. It is at the Museum Of Aviation at Robins AFB in Warner-Robbins, GA.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 44-70049. In storage for Kermit Weeks at Borrego Springs, CA.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 44-70102 Here's Hopin. Possibly being restored at NAWS China Lake in Inyokern, CA.
  • KB-29B AF Serial No. 44-83905 Lady Of The Lake. Currently submerged in a lake that formed around it when it ran off the runway at Eielson AFB in Alaska.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 44-84084. Either owned by Aero Trader in Chino, CA or Kermit Weeks of Fantasy of Flight in Florida.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 45-21763 Kee Bird. Burned after an attempted recovery. Currently on an ice pack in Greenland.
  • B-29 AF Serial No. 45-21847. It was ditched in Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Nevada in 1948 and discovered intact.
  • P2B-1S AF Serial No. 45-21787 Fertile Myrtle. Nose section only. This is a US Navy version which currently resides at the Florida Air Museum in at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, FL.

Related content

Notes

References

  • United States Air Force Museum. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio: Air Force Museum Foundation. 1975.  

External links


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