The first and only time ( until today ) that I saw a B29 was at Castle Air Force Base in Atwater California. If you are a fan of the history of bombers their museum is both breathtaking and sad, so many classic planes from so many eras, parked in the grass within a few 100 yards of each other. The sad part is many of the planes are rusting away, with clearly no funds available for restorations. Right as you walk in there is a B17 Bomber and a B29 parked right next to it. I really thought I would never see one, so it was a very pleasant surprise. Earlier this month when I heard that the Commemorative Air Force was bringing the only flying B29 “Fifi” to Sacramento I was even more surprised. I knew the plane existed but it had been decades since it was on the west coast and I really had little hope of ever seeing it.. The visit did not disappoint and it was wonderful to see how many aviation enthusiast there are out there. CAF deserves huge praise for putting their heart and soul into preserving these planes. At the front desk someone commented to the ticket taker on the cost for a ride ( around $600 if you sit in the back, closer to $1,500 if you get in the cockpit). The old guy smiled and said “The cost of those rides barely pays for enough fuel to get us halfway down the runway”
As always the people watching is the most interesting part .Old men that are clearly veterans, thier wives, sons and daughters, grandchildren. I heard one Dad quizzing his kids..”Okay, so how fast does that plane go?”….” You only need to know three things, Ailerons, Elevators and Trim”….”Do you know why they have fairings on these wheels?”…Great fun to listen in. Speaking of fathers and sons…special thanks to Eric for taking the picture of me in front of Fifi and I hope his son Reger enjoyed the planes as much as us old guys did.
Easily fifty people waited in line for the brief tour while at least another fifty wondered about looking at the other planes they had on site ( P51, C-45, AT6, Stearman among others). I snapped as many pictures as I could and later stumbled on some diagrams of a B29 that labeled some of the key components, so I combined them below to clarify what the pictures really are. I have four videos attached
Hope you enjoy these!
PS…watch for the P51 in the first video zipping across the runway in the backround…you can hear more than you can see it
Start up of Two Engines
Roll Out and Take Off
Fly by and Landing