Air show

The B-29 Superfortress “Fifi” is part of the Commemorative Air Force’s AirPower History Tour, which will be open to the public at the Fort Wayne International Airport June 30 to July 4.

The sights, sounds, and stories of World War II aviation will come to life in Fort Wayne when the B-29 Superfortress “Fifi” and the B-24 Liberator “Diamond Lil” land at Fort Wayne International Airport, accompanied by a T-6 Texan and a PT-13 Stearman.

The event is presented by the Commemorative Air Force, which brings its AirPower History Tour to airports across North America each year. Visitors will be able to view all aircraft up close, purchase rides, and tour the B-29 and B-24 cockpits when the aircraft are not flying.

The B-29 and B-24 are scheduled to arrive at noon June 27. Accompanying aircraft also are scheduled to arrive June 27.

The event will be open to the public June 30 to July 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The B-29 flies on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The B-24 flies on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Supporting aircraft will be offering rides throughout the event.

Cockpit tours of the B-29 and B-24 will be available each day beginning at 9 a.m., except on Saturday, Sunday and Monday when they will begin at noon.

The aircraft will be staged at the Fort Wayne Aero Center FBO ramp, located at Fort Wayne International Airport, 4401 Altitude Drive.

Access to the ramp is $20 for adults, $10 for youth age 11-17, and free for children age 10 and under. Rides may be booked in advance at AirPowerTour.org where additional information about the event may also be found.

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the largest and most technically advanced aircraft of its time, was first flown in 1942. It began active service in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1944, and is best known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring an end to World War II. The B-29 also was used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S. Air Force until 1960. “Fifi,” one of only two B-29’s in the world still flying, was acquired by the CAF in 1971. She began touring in 1974 and has been entertaining air show audiences across the country ever since.

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was the most-produced American warplane of World War II with over 18,400 aircraft rolling off assembly lines across the country. Most were manufactured at Ford’s giant Willow Run assembly plant in Detroit. Diamond Lil was one of the first B-24’s produced and is one of only two B-24’s in the world still flying.

The North American T-6 Texan, known as the “Pilotmaker,” was an advanced flight trainer that introduced new pilots to a complex aircraft with more speed of over 200-plus miles per hour, to prepare them for the warbirds they would fly in combat in World War II. The T-6 was designed for an instructor and student, and had a closed cockpit.

The Boeing PT-13 was the primary flight trainer for all branches of the military during World War II. This iconic bi-plane, almost universally known as the “Stearman,” trained more crews than any other aircraft in World War II. A ride in this open cockpit airplane brings back the wind-in-your hair feeling of the early days of flying.

Through more than six decades of collecting and flying World War II aircraft, the CAF has become the world’s largest flying museum. Their fleet of over 170 World War II airplanes are assigned to unit locations across the U.S. and are supported by 12,000 volunteer members. Nearly all the aircraft are kept in flying condition, enabling people to experience firsthand the sight and sound of vintage military aircraft in flight. The CAF is dedicated to honoring American military aviation through flight, exhibition, education and remembrance.

To learn more about the Commemorative Air Force, visit commemorativeairforce.org.

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