Restored World War II B-29 visiting Dubuque airport
Rides, tours will be offered on vintage bomber
George C. Ford
A large piece of American military aviation history will be making a three-day visit next week to the Dubuque Regional Airport.
The Commemorative Air Force Boeing B-29 Superfortress, known as FIFI, is expected to touch down at noon Monday. It will be accompanied by a C-45 Expeditor, T-6 Texas and PT-13 Stearman.
Visitors can view the aircraft up close, watch them fly and purchase rides. Admission to the ramp is $10 for adults and $5 for children age 11 to 17. Children age 10 and under are free.
The event will be open to the public from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. The aircraft will be staged at the old passenger terminal at 11000 Airport Road in Dubuque.
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, first flown in 1942, began active service in 1944 and is best known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring about the end of World War II.
The Commemorative Air Force FIFI was acquired in the early 1970s when a group of CAF members found the aircraft at the U.S. Navy Proving Ground at China Lake, Calif., where it was planned to be used as a missile target. The airplane was rescued and restored and flew for more than 39 years until 2006 when the chief pilot made the decision to ground the bomber pending a complete power plant refit.
An extensive four-year restoration included replacing all four engines with new custom built hybrid engines. FIFI returned to the sky in 2010 and has traveled coast to coast.
The CAF and FIFI visited The Eastern Iowa Airport in August 2015 and July 2012.
The aircraft was named FIFI after Texas businessman and World War II Army Air Corps veteran Victor Agather’s wife, Josephine. Agather convinced the U.S. Navy to donate the aircraft to the CAF.