In this video, we see a truly magnificent plane, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, affectionately known as ‘FiFi.’
This Superfortress was built by the aircraft company Boeing at the Renton factory in Washington. Its serial number is 44-62070. It was based in Kansas, starting its service life in 1945. After, the war it was converted to an administrative plane.
But such a beautiful machine could not stay still for long. In 1953 it returned to the skies, only to be retired in 1958.
Now the Commemorative Air Force, or CAF, a group dedicated to the celebration of service aircraft, was searching for B-29s. They asked the government for one and were told that if and when a B-29 was found, they could have it.
In 1971 a pilot in the CAF was flying over the California desert. He saw what he thought might be some B-29s. He found out that they were indeed B-29s.
But what were they doing there? They had been parked at the US Navy Weapons Centre at China Lake for 17 years. They were in bad condition, worn by heat and sand and vandalised, and, astonishingly, used for gun practice. One of these abandoned planes was FiFi, 44-62070.
After nine weeks FiFi was able to fly from China Lake. For three years restoration continued, using parts from other B-29s. When it was ready FiFi was flown off to CAF base in Texas and has wowed thousands of onlookers at airshows across the United States ever since.
In this footage, we are sitting in the observation seat behind the pilot. Enjoy!