An unprecedented collection of historic World War II aircraft is coming to town when the Commemorative Air Force’s iconic B-29 Superfortress FIFI – the only flying B-29 in the world – visits Collin County Regional Airport Oct. 3-6.
She will be accompanied by an array of equally rare aircraft including the B-24 LiberatorDiamond Lil, the B-17 Flying FortressSentimental Journey, the only remaining Curtiss SB2C Helldiver in the world, C-45 Expeditor Bucket of Bolts and many other historic military aircraft. The show will include a P-51 Mustang, B-25 Mitchell, T-6 Texan, Stearman biplane and more than a dozen additional airplanes. These aircraft will be on the ramp fromOctober 3 through 6 for cockpit tours and rides.
This gathering of historic aircraft offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to see, touch and hear some of the most rare World War II artifacts in the world. The Commemorative Air Force is a flying museum bringing the sight, sound and smell of World War II aviation to the general public. In addition to aircraft from the CAF collection will be aircraft from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum and from private collectors and individuals.
The event will also feature Veteran oral histories, historic military vehicles, classic cars, live swing and patriotic music, activities for children, food and much more. It will be the only place in the world where one can see the three major heavy bombers from WWII still fly.
Sponsors for the event include the Commemorative Air Force, the City of McKinney Visitors and Convention Bureau, the McKinney Kiwanis Club, Collin County Regional Airport, Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Cutter Aviation, Craig Ranch, the McKinney Chamber of Commerce and the Daughters of WWII. The CAF AirPower Expo is funded in part by a grant from the McKinney Community Development Corporation.
The event will be held at the Collin County Regional Airport. Admission is $15 per person or $25 for families with children age 17 and under. Children age 10 and under are free. Free B-29 and B-24 cockpit tours and admission to the oral histories and swing band concerts are included with paid admission. Fridayis Veterans Day and all veterans and active duty personnel will be admitted free on Friday. Hours vary each day depending on the programs offered. Please check the event web site for more details at www.AirPowerExpo.org.
Rides are available in almost all of the attending aircraft. Advance ride reservations are recommended and can be made at www.AirPowerExpo.org. Rides are also sold at the event and all of the airplanes except the B-29 fly on demand. The B-29 will fly at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
About the B-29 Superfortress
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, first flown in 1942, began active service in 1944 and is perhaps best known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring about the end of World War II. It was designed as a replacement for the older B-17s and B-24s, with longer range and greater bomb loads. The B-29 was also used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S. Air Force until the late 1950s.
About the CAF’s B-29 Superfortress FIFI:
FIFI was acquired by the CAF in the early 1970s when a group of CAF members found her at the U.S. Navy Proving Ground at China Lake, California where she was being used as a missile target. The airplane was rescued and restored and flew for over thirty years until 2006 when the chief pilot made the decision to ground her pending a complete power plant re-fit. What followed was an extensive four year restoration that included replacing all four engines with new custom-built hybrid engines. FIFIreturned to the sky in 2010 and since that time has traveled coast to coast attracting large crowds at every tour stop. Learn more about FIFI and her tour schedule atwww.AirPowerTour.org.
About the B-24 Liberator
This aircraft, built in May 1941, is the 25th B-24 produced by Consolidated Aircraft at their San Diego facility. On a training flight from Eagles Nest Airport, N.M., prior to its delivery to England, AM-927 experienced a landing accident. The damage was major enough that the aircraft had to be returned to San Diego for repairs. As a result of the accident, she was converted to a personnel and cargo carrier. During the war this B-24 flew scheduled runs between San Diego, Fort Worth, New York, and Washington D.C. She also carried various American and foreign dignitaries within the U.S. In 1969 the aircraft was purchased by the CAF and, in 1971, she was painted in the colors and markings of the 98th Bomb Group, Pyramiders of the 9th Air Force in North Africa, and was named Diamond Lil.
About the SB2C Helldiver:
This SB2C, operated by the CAF West Texas Wing, is the only one of its kind still flying.
The Helldiver was developed to replace the Douglas SBD Dauntless. It was a much larger aircraft and able to operate from the latest aircraft carriers of the time. The Helldiver carried a considerable array of armament and featured an internal bomb bay that reduced drag when carrying heavy ordinance. Saddled with demanding requirements set forth by both the U.S. Marines and United States Army Air Forces, the manufacturer incorporated features of a “multi-role” aircraft into the design.
About the P-51 Mustang:
The P-51 is one of the most revered fighters in WWII and possibly the greatest airplane ever designed. It entered service in Europe in the spring of 1944 as a primary long-range escort fighter. It held 1,880 rounds of .50 (fifty) caliber in six guns, a flying range of 1,650 miles with external drop tanks, and a top speed of 440 mph at 30,000 feet. Mustangs were a deadly opponent in battle and destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft in the air, more than any other US fighter in WWII. P-51s were flown in the pacific theater by the end of 1944 and escorted B-29s on long range missions to Japan. More than 13,500 P-51s were built and flew for the Air Force into the mid 1950s.
About the Commemorative Air Force:
Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 8,000 members and a fleet of over 150 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 70 units located in 27 states for care and operation. The mission of the Commemorative Air Force is to honor the men and women who built, maintained and flew in these airplanes during World War II. The organization believes that mission is best accomplished by maintaining the airplanes in flying condition; taking the airplanes to the people allowing them to experience the sight and sound of the aircraft in flight. For more information, visit http://www.
Story submitted by the Commemorative Air Force