Last flying B-29 coming to Paine Field

By Dan Catchpole

MUKILTEO — Fifi is coming home.

But just for a visit.

The last flying B-29 Superfortress, Fifi, is stopping by the Historic Flight Foundation at Paine Field this summer. The bomber was built in 1945 in Boeing’s Renton plant.

Visitors can look inside and even hitch a ride on the 69-year-old airplane during more than two weeks it will be in town.

A flight on Fifi isn’t cheap, though. Ticket prices start at $575 for a seat in the back of the plane, where airmen operated the heavy bomber’s machine guns. The best seat in the house — the bombardier’s position — costs $1,495 but gives you a front-seat view.

Fifi will be open to the public June 19 through July 6 at Paine Field. The airplane is operated by the Commemorative Air Force, which restores and operates about 150 vintage aircraft.

While nearly 4,000 B-29 Superfortresses were built during and just after World War II, Fifi is the only one in flying condition.

During the war, the B-29 provided a critical heavy punch in the Allies’ air campaigns against Germany and Japan. The most well-known B-29 is the Enola Gay, which dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945. A second B-29, dubbed Bockscar, dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, a few days later.

The U.S. Air Force continued using them in various roles through the 1950s.

Despite the plane’s important role in defeating the Axis Powers, few B-29s are still around today. More than 20 Superfortresses are on display at various museums, mostly in the U.S., and a group in Wichita, Kan., is working to restore a second B-29, dubbed Doc, to flying condition.

Before landing in Everett, the plane is scheduled to be in Olympia June 12-15 and at Seattle’s Boeing Field June 16-18. After leaving Western Washington, Fifi is scheduled for stops in Spokane and Boise.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.