Last flightworthy B-29 grounded, could be forever

"Fifi," the last flying Boeing B-29 Superfortress, has been grounded because of an engine failure. The plane traveled regularly for appearances and at airshows and museums. A crowd-funded campaign has begun, in hopes of raising the $250,000 necessary to put Fifi back in flight.

The B-29's place in history was earned in U.S. military service during World War II and the Korean War. The four-engine plane could carry a 20,000-pound payload. Its long range bombing capabilities made it a perfect fit for the far-flung Pacific Theatre of WWII; the B-29 was immortalized when the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945. Three days later, another B-29, the Bockscar, dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki.

Fifi's work as a piece of living history has been endangered by the incredible cost of maintaining the plane. The $250,000 fund raising goal is meant to repair the damaged engine, as well as purchase a new spare engine. Beyond that, Fifi requires about $10,000 and 100 hours of (volunteer) labor per hour of flight. It is unknown whether Boeing or even the U.S. government would be willing to help keep the plane in the sky. While there are more than twenty B-29 planes still in existence, Fifi is the only one that is flightworthy. The campaign to keep her that way is linked below.

Keep Fifi Flying, via The Verge and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

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