I have flown on "FIFI," the world's only flying B-29 Superfortress. My first flight was on July 4, 2011. I helped our CAF Squadron at Meacham Field in Fort Worth, Texas where "FIFI"was making a public appearance and doing ride flights for passengers and the media. My good buddy, Les Kelton, drove my car back and I hopped on "FIFI" for a short training flight from Meacham to the Addison Airport (about a 20-minute ride).
I sat at the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) position. Much of what I remembered from Ground School came back to me and my fellow squadron member, Jim Neill, was a very good trainer on the flight.
It was an honor to be on "FIFI's" 100th flight. Her active schedule began on August 3, 2010 with a successful test flight with new, reliable engines. July 4 marked her 100th take-off and landing. She now proudly flies the skies again and thousands of people across the country have already enjoyed seeing her in person at air shows and tour stops.
But...a bigger trip for me was to come. I signed up for the St. Louis/Memphis leg of "FIFI's" Midwest tour. "FIFI"would be giving media flights and ride flights at these two stops. I got a one-way ticket to St. Louis arriving on July 31. My only way home was on "FIFI"and I'd be able to train and explore the aircraft in flight during two long stretches of flight from St. Louis to Memphis and from Memphis back home to Addison on August 8.
What can I say?...the 9-day trip with "FIFI" was AWESOME. I'm looking forward to doing it again soon. And, I'm almost checked out to work the aircraft with passengers aboard. I'm grateful for this opportunity and for members of my CAF squadron who invested time in training and mentoring me.
By far, meeting the public and, particularly, our veterans, is the best part of any trip. I'm honored to represent the CAF and this remarkable flying museum. The public LOVES to see "FIFI." She is truly a rock star.
The CAF crew works hard to take care of "FIFI" and is very professional and service-oriented with the public. On the ground, we supported the needs of the aircraft prior to and immediately after flights. I dubbed DVD's of ride flights for our passengers. All of us sold "FIFI" items in our Px and did shifts at the gate or with cockpit tours. The crew enjoyed each other's company after a long day of interacting with the public and flying the plane. And - it was HOT - we stayed hydrated and, with the help of our hosts, were able to rig some AC for the plane while she was on the ground at both tour stops.
Following are pics of the trip including aircraft that met up with "FIFI" at our tour stops. If this kind of adventure and service to the community interests you, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and see our CAF B-29/B-24 Squadron website and the Cavanaugh Flight Museum website for more info. You can see "FIFI"and our other rare bomber "Ol'927" at the Cavanaugh when the aircraft are not on tour.
Blue skies "FIFI." You are a treasure and a tribute to our veterans!
B-29/B-24 CAF Squadron
Cavanaugh Flight Museum
Kon's "FIFI" Trip Photos