Flying with "FIFI"

In Flight with a B-29 Superfortress

by John Thow

After a long break, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) has been returning to Camarillo Airport with their B-29 Superfortress, affectionately called “FIFI”. This gives the Southern California Wing of the CAF a chance to show off the WWII era behemoth to local enthusiasts eager to get a look at the rare airplane and for those willing or able to put up the funds, the chance to actually fly in the bomber.

What was then, the last flying example of the Superfortress first returned to Southern California in 2013, and has been back every other year since, including appearances in 2015 and 2017. I had the opportunity to join up with FiFi in the air, flying alongside the massive bomber from the back seat of the CAF’s SNJ-3 (Texan).

We met up with the B-29 in flight over Simi Valley as she made her way to Camarillo in March of 2015, along with several other CAF aircraft and the B-25J Mitchell, of the American Aeronautical Foundation, “Executive Sweet”.

B-29 Superfortress with WWII chase planes

B-29 Superfortress, Supermarine Spitfire, F8F Bearcat, and F6F Hellcat. John Thow ©

Boeing B-29 Superfortress "FIFI"

Boeing B-29 Superfortress “FIFI” of the Commemorative Air Force lands at Camarillo Airport, California. Photo: John Thow ©

B-29 and B-25 Mitchell

B-29 and B-25 Mitchell near the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA  Photo: J.Thow

After our airborne rendezvous, we all flew passes over the Reagan Presidential Library, I had a really nice view of the action, even though we were required to stay a bit farther away from the formation than the other aircraft. It was almost surreal to look out from that Texan and realize that with the exception of those of us in the aircraft along for that flight, at that moment in time, there was no one else in the world flying with, or in a B-29. It is an incredible airplane to experience in the air.

The shots from the ground were taken by Dan, who drew the short straw on this one but managed to get some great shots anyway.

I have included a few photos here to give some idea of the experience, thanks to the CAF So Cal Wing and to the AAF for the opportunity.

See you in the AIR!

Boeing B-29 Superfortress "FIFI"

Boeing B-29 Superfortress “FIFI” at CAF So Cal, Camarillo Airport. Photo: © John Thow

T-34 Mentor from the back seat of the SNJ

A view of our T-34 wingman for the flight out from the Texan. Photo: © John Thow

Our Phot-bird for the flight

Here we come, Dan took this one of me in the back, fun ride! Dan Thow ©

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