B-29 Fifi Grounded, Seeking Support
What was the only flying B-29 Superfortress, the Commemorative Air Force's (CAF's) Fifi, has been grounded due to an engine problem suffered by the aircraft's number two engine, and the cost of repair has launched a fundraising initiative. According to CAF, the problem became evident during "the last flight of the season." Acquisition of parts needed for the repair could exceed $250,000 and the Keep Fifi Flying campaign has set the goal to raise whatever funds are necessary to return the aircraft to flight. The goal is consistent with CAF's larger mission, which is to preserve and demonstrate the living legacy of aviation history.
When healthy, Fifi has remained flying to the tune of 100 volunteer work hours and $10,000 consumed for each hour the bomber stays in the air. The engine problem became evident while the aircraft was airborne, but the crew was able to return the aircraft to the ground without additional damage. CAF's goal to "perpetuate the spirit in which these aircraft were flown in defense of our nation -- honoring the courage, sacrifice and legacy of the greatest generation" takes money. Fifi is seen as a traveling component of the story that educates the public, firsthand, about the sort of personal experiences earned by the men who flew similar aircraft in service to their country. Now, says CAF, "we need your help, each one doing a little bit, to continue to spread the message" and keep Fifi flying. CAF operates 156 vintage aircraft based in 27 states. It is a non-profit educational association supported by 9,000 members.