In a post on the Commemorative Air Force B-29/B-24 Squadron’s Facebook page, it was announced that their B-29 Superfortress “Fifi” will be participating in a historic flight at the upcoming Barksdale AFB Defenders of Liberty Air Show, to be held on 30 April and 1 May this year. The post detailed that Fifi will be participating in a formation flight with one of Barksdale’s B-52 Stratofortresses as well as the Lone Star Flight Museum’s B-17 Flying Fortress “Thunderbird.”
While the formation of a B-52 and B-17 has been seen before in recent years, the addition of the B-29 is significant in a historic aspect. Arguably, strategic air power for the United States began shortly before World War II with the US Army Air Corps purchase of Boeing Y1B-17s. Later manufactured and flown in service as the B-17, it became the backbone of air power in the European theater. Following the success of the 17 and strategic bombing, the B-29 would take over as the dominant force behind America’s newly formed Air Force until it’s retirement in 1960. At the dawn of the jet age, the B-29 would then be replaced by multiple new bomber designs until the iconic B-52 ultimately seated itself as the primary bomber of strategic air power for the US Air Force from 1952 on, still serving today.
The planned flight holds significance in the additional regard that the Boeing Company, the manufacturer of all three airframes, celebrates their centennial this year. For spectators at the show, this will be a unique opportunity to see the lineage of US bomber technology and heritage sharing the skies as a veritable bridge across time joining past and present.