CAF B-29 Fifi Needs $3 Million Engine Job

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A "national treasure" has been grounded indefinitely and it'll take $3 million to get it back in the air. Fifi, the Commemorative Air Force's B-29 bomber, has had chronic engine problems for years and the CAF has decided that they must be resolved for safety's sake. Fifi is the only airworthy B-29 in the world. As the CAF's Kay Crites told AVweb in our Aug. 4 audio news, the original equipment engines were maintenance hogs when they were new and they haven't gotten any better in 60 years of service. The CAF has decided to replace the engines with custom-built variants of the Wright Cyclone 18-cylinder radials and it's launched a fundraising effort to do the work. Fifi recently underwent two years of heavy maintenance that involved structural work and the replacement of two miles of wire. She got back into the air in June and was scheduled to fly to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh but started blowing cylinders. The decision was finally made to get the engine work done. Crites said Fifi is a priceless relic of an era that changed the course of history and she must continue to fly.