List of surviving Boeing B-29 Superfortresses
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress is an American heavy bomber used by the United States Army Air Forces in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, and by the United States Air Force during the Korean War. Of the 3,970 built, 26 survive in complete form today, 24 of which reside in the United States, and two of which are airworthy.
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 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 six 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. 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.
Museum acquisitions of B-29s
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.
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 Proving Grounds revealed several airframes, but due to the closeness of ocean air these aircraft were corroded close to the point of unrestorability. Then, in 1970, came the discovery of the US Navy fleet of aircraft at Naval Air Weapons Station 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). Since the early 1970s, numerous other B-29s have been recovered from Aberdeen as well as 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.
Surviving aircraft by manufacturer
|Plant||Number produced||Number surviving|
|Boeing Renton (BN)||1,122||8|
|Boeing Wichita (BW)||1,644||11|
|Bell Atlanta (BA)||668||2|
|Martin Omaha (MO)||536||5|
|Serial||Geographic location||Institutional location||Status||History||Photo|
|42-65281||Fairfield, California||Travis AFB||Static display||Built at Martin Omaha as B-29. Delivered to USAAF 11 December 1944. Assigned to 24th Bombardment Squadron, 6th Bombardment Group, 313th Bombardment Wing. Piloted by Bruce R. Alger who named the plane "Miss America '62" after his newborn daughter, who would be 18 years old in 1962. Flew 30 combat missions from North Field, Tinian. Returned to US in October 1945. Used at various bases until the late 1950s. Used as target at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake from 1960 to 1985. Removed in 1986 and sent to Travis AFB for restoration, which was completed in 1994. At unveiling on 18 June 1994, Alger's wife Jill spoke.|
|42-93967||Cordele, Georgia||Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park||Static display||Built at Boeing Renton as B-29A. Flew with 330th Bombardment Group from North Field, Guam. Carried name "City of Lansford, PA." Later converted to F-13.|
|44-27297||Dayton, Ohio||National Museum of the United States Air Force||Static display||Built at Martin Omaha as B-29 and modified to a Silverplate during production. Delivered to USAAF on 19 March 1945 and assigned to Frederick C. Bock at Wendover AAF in April. Given the name "Bockscar" by her crew. Arrived in Tinian 16 June for service with the 393d Bombardment Squadron, 509th Composite Group. On 9 August was flown by Charles W. Sweeney and dropped the Fat Man atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Returned to the US in November and sent to Roswell AAF. Placed in storage at Davis-Monthan AAF in 1946. In September 1961 flown to National Museum, where it has been on display since.|
|44-27343||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma||Tinker AFB||Static display||Built at Martin Omaha as B-29. Used by various reconnaissance weather squadrons, and as part of atomic bomb tests. In 1955 sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground for use as a target. Recovered in 1985, restored, and placed on display.|
|44-61535||Atwater, California||Castle Air Museum||Static display||Built at Boeing Renton as B-29A. During the Korean War was part of the 28th Bombardment Squadron, 19th Bombardment Group and flew from Kadena Airbase. Given the name "Raz'n Hell" by her crew. Flew roughly 50 combat missions. Returned to US after war. In 1958 sent to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake for use as a target. Recovered in 1980 and put on display. Uses tail of 44-61535, outer wings of 44-84084, and fuselage and inner wings of 44-70064.|
|44-61669||Riverside, California||March Field Air Museum||Static display||Built at Boeing Renton as B-29A. Delivered to USAAF 5 May 1945. Flew with 883rd Bombardment Squadron, 500th Bombardment Group, 73d Bombardment Wing from Isley Field, Saipan. Carried the names "Flagship 500" and "Three Feathers" along with the "ball and spear" insignia of the 73rd. Flew 11 combat missions. During the Korean War assigned to 581st Air Resupply Group at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Sent to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in 1956 for use as a target. Recovered in 1975 by David Tallichet and Yesterday's Air Force. Transferred to March Field in 1981. From 1981 to 2003 wore the livery of 44-27263 "Mission Inn." Now wears original livery.|
|44-61671||Knob Noster, Missouri||Whiteman AFB||Static display||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29A. Wears livery of 44-27353, "The Great Artiste," which flew as an observation aircraft during the bombing of Hiroshima and the bombing of Nagasaki.|
|44-61748||Duxford, Cambridgeshire||Imperial War Museum Duxford||Static display||Built at Boeing Renton as B-29A. Assigned to 371st Bombardment Squadron, 307th Bombardment Group, 307th Bombardment Wing at Kadena AB, Okinawa in March 1952. Named "It's Hawg Wild" by her crew. Flew 105 missions over North Korea. Sent to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in November 1956 to be used as a target. Recovered from China Lake in 1979 and donated to Imperial War Museum. Arrived in Duxford 2 March 1980.|
|44-61975||Windsor Locks, Connecticut||New England Air Museum||Static display||Built at Boeing Renton as B-29A. In 1956 sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground for use as a target. Recovered in 1973 by Bradley Air Museum. Damaged by a tornado in 1979. Wears livery of "Jack's Hack" (serial unknown).|
|44-62022||Pueblo, Colorado||Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum||Static display||Built at Boeing Renton as B-29A. At one point wore the livery of "Laggin' Dragon." Used at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake as a target. Recovered in 1972. Wears livery of a B-29 piloted by Lt. Robert T. Haver and named "Peachy" (serial unknown).|
|44-62070||Addison, Texas||Commemorative Air Force||Airworthy||Built at Boeing Renton as B-29A. Served as an administrative aircraft before being stored. Returned to service in 1953. Used until 1958, at which point it was sent to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake for use as a ballistic missile target. Acquired by Confederate Air Force in 1971 and flown to Harlingen, Texas that August. A restoration was completed in 1974 and the plane was named "Fifi" after Josephine O'Connor (1919-2007), the wife of Victor Neils Agather (1912-2000), who was instrumental in acquiring the plane. After being grounded in 2006, she returned to the air in 2010.|
|44-62220||San Antonio, Texas||Lackland AFB||Static display||Built at Boeing Renton as B-29A. Sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1960 for use as a target. Recovered in 1985 and put on display at Kelly AFB. After Kelly's closure, moved to Lackland AFB. Wears livery of "Joltin' Josie the Pacific Pioneer."|
|44-69729||Seattle, Washington||Museum of Flight||Static display||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. 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.|
|44-69972||Wichita, Kansas||Doc's Friends||Airworthy||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. In 1951 converted to a radar calibration plane and was based at Griffiss Air Force Base with the 4713th Radar Evaluation Squadron. Squadron named planes after characters from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and this plane acquired the name "Doc." B-29 number 44-70016 was also in this squadron. Struck off in 1956 and sent to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake for use as a target. Removed in 1998 and restored at the Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas where it was originally built. 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 were underway before first flight. The plane received a certificate of airworthiness from the Federal Aviation Administration on May 20, 2016 allowing it be flown. On 17 July 2016, "Doc" flew for the first time since 1956, flown by members of "Fifi" flight crews.|
|44-70016||Tucson, Arizona||Pima Air and Space Museum||Static display||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. Delivered to the USAAF 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, 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 and Space Museum (then the Tucson Air Museum Foundation of Pima County).|
|44-70049||Borrego Springs, California||Fantasy of Flight||Dismantled and in storage||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. One of four B-29s used in the 1980 film The Last Flight of Noah's Ark. The other three aircraft were 44-84084, whose outer wings were installed on 44-61535, with the remaining parts stored at Borrego Springs, California. The remaining two Disney B-29s were destroyed (44-62112 and 44-62222). Now owned by Kermit Weeks and in storage at Aero Trader, Borrego Springs, California.|
|44-70113||Marietta, Georgia||Dobbins ARB||Static display||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. Flew with the 883rd Bomb Squadron of the 500th Bombardment Group in the 73d Bombardment Wing of the 20th Air Force, and flew 27 bombing missions before the end of World War II, carrying the name "Marilyn Gay." This B-29 is credited with shooting down a confirmed three Japanese fighter planes, with 3 more probable fighter kills. After the end of the war, this B-29 was renamed "Hoof Hearted," and served 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."|
|44-84053||Warner Robins, Georgia||Museum of Aviation||Static display||Built at Bell Atlanta as B-29B. In 1956 sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground for use as a target. Recovered in 1983 and put on display. Wears livery of "Big Red."|
|44-84076||Ashland, Nebraska||Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum||Static display||Built at Bell Atlanta as B-29B. Delivered 4 August 1945 to Walker AAF. Used by multiple units throughout the United States until 1959. Struck off command in July 1959 and transferred to SAC Museum. Formerly displayed as "Man o' War." Recently restored and painted as "Lucky Lady."|
|44-86292||Chantilly, Virginia||Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center||Static display||Built at Martin Omaha as B-29 and modified to a Silverplate during production. While still on the assembly line, personally selected on 9 May 1945 by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets Jr. for use with the 509th Composite Group. Taken on Strench 18 May, assigned to the 393d Bombardment Squadron and on 14 June flown by Robert A. Lewis to Wendover AAF. On 31 May flown to Guam for bomb-bay modification. On 6 July flown to North Field, Tinian. Flew training and combat missions during July. On 5 August Tibbets took command of the plane, and named it "Enola Gay" after his mother. The name was painted on that same day. On 6 August, accompanied by "The Great Artiste" and "Necessary Evil," "Enola Gay" dropped the Little Boy atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Returned to the US on 6 November and kept at Roswell AAF. In May 1946 sent to Kwajalein Atoll for atomic tests, but was not used. Returned to Fairfield-Suisin AAF. In August 1946 given to Smithsonian Institution. After being left outside for some time, dismantled and put in storage at Suitland, Maryland in 1961. Restoration began in December 1984 and was completed in December 2003.|
|44-86408||Ogden, Utah||Hill Aerospace Museum||Static display||Built at Martin Omaha as B-29. Used for air sampling during atomic tests in the Pacific. After being stationed at various bases across the US, sent to Dugway Proving Ground for chemical testing, and then abandoned. Recovered in 1983 and placed on display at Hill AFB. Originally displayed as "Hagarty's Hag", it is currently painted to resemble Straight Flush .|
|44-87627||Bossier City, Louisiana||Barksdale Global Power Museum||Static display||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. Wears the name "Bossier City."|
|44-87779||Rapid City, South Dakota||South Dakota Air and Space Museum||Static display||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. Sent to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in 1956 for use as a target. Recovered in 1985. Wears livery of "Legal Eagle II."|
|45-21739||Sachon, South Gyeongsang||KAI Aerospace Museum||Static display||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. Sent to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. Recovered in 1972 and sent to Seoul. Museum named the plane "Unification."|
|45-21748||Albuquerque, New Mexico||National Museum of Nuclear Science and History||Static display||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. Served with 509th Bombardment Group from 1946-47. Later used as a ground training aircraft at Chanute AFB. Put on display wearing livery of "Enola Gay." Now painted as "Duke of Albuquerque."|
|45-21787||Polk City, Florida||Fantasy of Flight||Dismantled and in storage||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. Delivered to USAAF in September 1945. Sold to USN in 1947. Later transferred to National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics where it acquired the name "Fertile Myrtle." Used to carry the Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket research aircraft. Donated to the American Air Museum in Oakland, California in 1969. Used in the flying sequences of the 1980 Walt Disney film The Last Flight of Noah's Ark. Sold to Kermit Weeks in 1984. In 1992 the plane was severely damaged when the Weeks Air Museum was wrecked during Hurricane Andrew. The forward fuselage has subsequently been restored and was on static display. Other parts in storage. Although not airworthy, it is registered with FAA as N29KW.|
|42-65287||Puerto Rico||Built at Martin Omaha as B-29. Assigned to 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Very Heavy), 246th AAF Base Unit, Pratt Army Airfield, Kansas. Ditched near Aguadilla, Puerto Rico on 31 May 1945 due to engine failure following departure from nearby Borinquen Army Airfield. Ten crew members survived and three were killed.|
|44-61999||UK||Built at Boeing Renton as B-29A. Nicknamed "Over-Exposed!" after photographing the Bikini Atoll atomic tests in 1946. On a 3 November 1948 flight from RAF Scampton to RAF Burtwood, crashed near Higher Stones Shelf, Bleaklow, killing all 13 crew members.|
|44-62134||United States||Built at Boeing Renton as B-29A. Later flown to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake for use as a target, and subsequently abandoned. Still on bombing range, as of January 2019, and can be clearly seen in satellite imagery.|
|44-62214||United States||Built at Boeing Renton as B-29A. Submerged in a lake at 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. Has acquired the nickname "Lady of the Lake."|
|44-69957||United States||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. Later flown to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and used as a target before being abandoned. Still on bombing range, as of July 2019, and can be clearly seen in satellite imagery.|
|44-70039||United States||(approx.)||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. Crashed near Talkeetna 15 November 1957. Four crew members were killed and six survived.|
|45-21768||Greenland||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. Assigned to the 46th Reconnaissance Squadron based out of Ladd Army Airfield in Fairbanks, Alaska as part of Project Nanook in early 1946. Named "Kee Bird" by her crew. 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 the subject of a Nova episode entitled "B-29: Frozen in Time."|
|45-21847||United States||Built at Boeing Wichita as B-29. Converted to B-29F electronic reconnaissance plane. On 21 July 1948 crashed in Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Nevada. Discovered intact in 2002 at a depth of 118 feet. In 2011 the plane was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Although the plane is the most intact of the remaining known wrecks, no plans have been made to recover it. Private dive tours are permitted.|
- Willis, David. "Boeing B-29 and B-50 Superfortress". International Air Power Review, Volume 22, 2007, pp. 136–169.
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- "Transcript: B-29 Frozen in Time." NOVA PBS Airdate: 29 July 1997. Retrieved: 28 July 2010.
- "Josephine Fifi O'Connor Agather's Obituary on San Antonio Express-News". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
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- "FAA Registry for N29KW". registry.faa.gov.
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