List of surviving Boeing B-29 Superfortresses
There are many well known flying and static display Boeing B-29 Superfortresses in the United States. These are documented below, along with other B-29s on display around the world; including location, model and serial numbers, brief history, nicknames/markings, and conditions.
- 1 Background
- 2 Flyable aircraft
- 3 Other notable aircraft
- 4 B-29 survivors
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
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 government 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.
B-50 was introduced
While the B-29 was still considered useful in the post World War II inventory, the numerous problems with development, (i.e. including the freezing of the design in 1942) and the fear that the postwar US 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 Convair B-36 Peacemaker and Northrop YB-49 and the planned production of both the Boeing B-47 Stratojet and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress becoming a reality, the Superfortress was quickly becoming 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 defenses were inadequate against fast-moving jets. By 1953, except for some RB-29s, they 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 were largely replaced in service by English Electric Canberra bombers by 1955, the last leaving service in 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 postwar as a flying testbed, being used with NACA to carry the early rocket aircraft (X-1, X-1A, D-558-2 and other test aircraft), prototype jet engine testing, electronic test ships and High Altitude Atmospheric tests..
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 six 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 Commemorative Air Force, in their quest to gather an example of all the remaining World War II 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 Imperial War Museum to obtain an example as well (It's Hawg Wild). During the early 1970s, NASA (the redesignated NACA) sold their P2B-1S (Fertile Myrtle) 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 NAWS China Lake for museum displays – the last B-29 (Doc) removed from China Lake in 2000 was restored to flying condition. There are still two partial airframes and one wreck at the NAWS China Lake site. Several other aircraft were noted as late as 1980 but these aircraft have disappeared – four having been used in the Disney Picture Last Flight of Noah’s Ark, in which two of the airframes were destroyed during production. Additional aircraft have been discovered at both post-war crash sites and near World War II Pacific airfields. There is a search for the first B-29 to bomb Japan, Dauntless Dotty 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 almost complete destruction of the plane's fuselage by fire, allegedly started by a malfunctioning Auxiliary power unit in the tail.
FIFI, AAF Serial Number 44-62070, belongs to the Commemorative Air Force. FIFI was grounded in 2006 because of problems with all four engines. In 2008, the Commemorative Air Force and the Cavanaugh Flight Museum announced that FIFI would be re-engined, and returned to flight status. On 15 July 2010, talks with the FAA to sign FIFI's Airworthiness Certificate were completed. FIFI took flight in early August 2010 with its new engines (composed of parts from several variants of Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone to achieve better reliability than the wartime R-3350s), and was flown in the CAF AIRSHO air show in October, 2010. FIFI is currently available for rides at select airshows, and tours the country along with other CAF aircraft as part of the CAF Air Power History Tour.
Doc, AF Serial Number 44-69972, served during the Korean War era as a radar trainer. It was later sent to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake for use as a 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. In February 2013, the aircraft was acquired by the non-profit organization "Doc's Friends". On 11 May 2016, the restoration crew performed the first of many low-speed taxi tests as the final preparations are underway before first flight. The plane received a certificate of airworthiness from the Federal Aviation Administration on May 20, 2016 allowing it be flown.
Other notable aircraft
Bockscar, AAF 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.
- Enola Gay
Enola Gay, AAF 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 is 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, AF Serial Number 45-21787, was later used to carry the US Navy's Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket research aircraft. It was donated to an aviation museum in Oakland, California in 1969, and then later sold to Kermit Weeks in 1984. It is on the US Civil register as N29KW. It was used in the flying sequences of the 1980 Walt Disney film The Last Flight of Noah's Ark. The forward fuselage has been restored and was on static display at Weeks' Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida, along with the remainder of the unrestored fuselage, until the attraction closed to the general public on April 6, 2014. Fantasy of Flight remains operational as a venue for private events and as a classic aircraft restoration facility, with the restored and unrestored portions of Fertile Myrtle still on static display.
- Kee Bird
Kee Bird, AF Serial Number 45-21768 was assigned to the 46th Reconnaissance Squadron based out of Ladd Army Airfield in Fairbanks, Alaska as part of Project Nanook in early 1946. After crashing on a frozen lake in northwest Greenland in February 1947 during a secret mission, it was abandoned almost intact in the arctic. In 1994, retired Lockheed test pilot Darryl Greenamyer led an expedition to recover the aircraft via repairing it on site and flying it out. The project was abandoned however after the B-29 caught fire and was severely damaged just prior to takeoff. It is currently sitting on a frozen ice shelf in far northwest Greenland. The attempt to rescue Kee Bird was featured in a PBS Nova program with footage shown of the rehabilitation of the aircraft and subsequent fire that prevented its near takeoff.
- Miss Marilyn Gay
AAF Serial Number 44-70113 flew with the 883rd Bomb Squadron of the 500th Bomb Group in the 73rd Bomb Wing of the 20th Air Force, and flew 27 bombing missions before the end of World War II. This B-29 is credited with shooting down a confirmed 3 Japanese fighter planes, with 3 more probable fighter kills. After the end of the war, this B-29 was renamed Hoof Hearted, and served over in Great Britain before it was decommissioned in 1956 and sent to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. In 1973, the B-29 was recovered by the now defunct Florence Air & Missile Museum in Florence, South Carolina for restoration. In 1994, the Marietta B-29 Association sponsored restoration and put it on display at Dobbins ARB, Georgia as Sweet Eloise.
AAF 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, California and in 2005 it was moved indoors.
- Sentimental Journey
AAF Serial Number 44-70016 was delivered to the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) on 6 April 1945, and later assigned to the 330th Bombardment Group based out of North Field, Guam, for combat service. Assigned to the 330th's 458th Bombardment Squadron, it began to regularly fly on combat missions, and was later dubbed Sentimental Journey. By the war's end, Sentimental Journey had flown a total of 30 Missions with the 458th 330th Bombardment Group, and was placed into storage. In March 1954, it was renamed Dopey and assigned to 4713th Radar Evaluation Squadron, at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York, flying radar defense evaluation flights until 1959. In June 1959, S/N 44-70016 was finally retired from the air force, and sent to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona for storage. Then, in 1969 the B-29 was donated to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (then the U.S. Air Force Museum), and later placed on loan to the Pima Air & Space Museum (then the Tucson Air Museum Foundation of Pima County). During the 1980s, it featured in the 1980 TV Movie Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb, which starred Billy Crystal and Patrick Duffy, and the 1982 TV Movie Deadly Encounter with Larry Hagman.
AF Serial Number 44-69729 (No. 54) was assigned to the 875th Bomb Squadron, 498th Bomb Group, 73d Bomb Wing and completed 37 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, California and transported to the Lowry Heritage Museum at the then-Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado; now the 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 in 1996. She was shrink wrapped, 2011, in white plastic for 5 years and unwrapped on 6 Apr 2015 under the new open-side outdoor Pavilion.
- 45-21768 Kee Bird – caught fire and burned after an attempted recovery. Currently sitting broken, on an ice shelf on the surface.
- On display
- On display
- 44-61748 It's Hawg Wild – indoors at the American Air Museum, part of the Imperial War Museum Duxford.
- 44-69972 Doc – Doc's Friends in Wichita, Kansas. Received FAA Airworthiness Certificate May 20, 2016, took first flight from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas on July 17, 2016 with takeoff at 8:59am CDT and landing at 9:04am CDT. Aircraft takeoff of 8:30am CDT was delayed for almost 30 minutes due to problem with forward bomb bay doors, problem rectified and first successful flight occurred.
- 44-62070 Fifi – Commemorative Air Force (B-24/B-29 Squadron) in Addison, Texas. This aircraft was used for the flight sequences in the film The Right Stuff. Fifi was returned to airworthy status in August 2010 and flew for the first time since 2006.
- On display (complete airframes)
- 42-65281 Miss America 62 – outdoors at the Travis AFB Heritage Center in Fairfield, California.
- 44-27297 Bockscar – indoors at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.
- 44-27343 (unnamed) – outdoors at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
- 44-69729 T-Square-54 - indoors at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.
- 44-70016 Sentimental Journey – indoors in Hangar 4 at the Pima Air and Space Museum adjacent to Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. Was featured briefly in the 1982 made-for-TV aviation adventure movie Deadly Encounter with Larry Hagman.
- 44-70113 Miss Marilyn Gay – outdoors at Dobbins ARB in Marietta, Georgia on display as Sweet Eloise.
- 44-84076 Lucky Lady – indoors at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.
- 44-86292 Enola Gay – indoors at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia.
- 44-86408 Hagarty's Hag – outdoors at the Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill AFB in Ogden, Utah.
- 44-87627 (unnamed) – outdoors at the Barksdale Global Power Museum at Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, Louisiana.
- 44-87779 Legal Eagle II – outdoors at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum adjacent to Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, South Dakota.
- 45-21748 (unnamed) – outdoors at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History adjacent to Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- 42-93967 City of Lansford, PA – outdoors at the Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park in Cordele, Georgia.
- 44-61535 Raz'n Hell – outdoors at the Castle Air Museum at the former Castle AFB in Atwater, California. It is actually a composite of three B-29s : 44-61535 – tail, 44-84084 – wings, 44-70064 fuselage.
- 44-61669 Three Feathers III – outdoors at March Field Air Museum at March ARB (former March AFB) in Riverside, California.
- 44-61671 The Great Artiste – originally modified to be an SB-29 "Super Dumbo", now marked to replicate the Silverplate airframe 44-27393, is on static display at the "Spirit Gate" of Whiteman AFB in Knob Noster, Missouri.
- 44-61975 Jack's Hack – on display indoors at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
- 44-62022 Peachy – on display indoors at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum in Pueblo, Colorado.
- 44-62220 Joltin Josie – outdoors at the USAF History & Traditions Museum on the grounds of Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas.
- On display (partial airframes)
- 42-65401 (nose section only) – Stockton Field Aviation Museum in Stockton, California. Privately owned by Nick Veronico.
- 44-61739 (nose section only) – Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB in Warner Robins, Georgia.
- 44-62139 (forward fuselage section only) – National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. Painted to represent Command Decision (s/n 44-87657) .
- Under restoration or in storage (complete airframes)
- 44-70049 – in storage for Kermit Weeks at Borrego Springs, California. One of four B-29s obtained by Walt Disney Studios from the U.S. Navy at NAWS China Lake, California for use in the movie The Last Flight of Noah's Ark.
- 45-21787 Fertile Myrtle – in storage at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida. This aircraft was used for the flight sequences in the Walt Disney Studios film, The Last Flight of Noah's Ark.
- Under restoration or in storage (partial airframes)
- 42-24791 The Big Time Operator (nose section only) – currently in Maryland awaiting restoration for the QuestMasters Online Museum May 2014. previously in storage at the Edward F. Beale Museum at Beale AFB in Marysville, CA.
- 44-69957 (wreckage) – in storage at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California. Took a direct hit from weapons testing. The nose was used in the restoration of Doc.
- 44-70102 Here's Hopin – in storage at the Naval Museum of Armament & Technology adjacent to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in Ridgecrest, California.
- 44-84084 – in storage for Kermit Weeks at Borrego Springs, California. One of four B-29s obtained by Walt Disney Studios from the U.S. Navy at NAWS China Lake for use in the movie The Last Flight of Noah's Ark (see 44-70049 above for the other surviving example). Outer wings were installed on 44-61535; other two Disney B-29s were destroyed (44-62112 and 44-62222).
- 44-70039 – crashed on Bomber Glacier near Talkeetna, Alaska in 1957. Large pieces of wreckage still remain to this day.
- 44-62214 – Submerged in a lake on Eielson AFB, south of Fairbanks, Alaska, where it was placed after being a "hangar queen" (1954) and having been cannibalized for parts. It was moved to its present location (possible between 1955-1956) and is believed to have been used for water ditching training exercises for aircrew members. 44-62214 is the first aircraft to detect a Soviet atomic detonation. It is not a wrecked aircraft inasmuch as it is an abandoned aircraft.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to B-29 Superfortress.|
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