Nashville residents will witness a rare sight Tuesday, July 2, when the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) famous Boeing B-29 Superfortress comes to town. FIFI, the only remaining flying example of the aircraft in the world, will fly into Smyrna Airport for a 6 day stay. Country music celebrity and accomplished airman Aaron Tippin will be flying copilot when the airplane arrives. Tippin, a CAF member and spokesperson for the organization, is part of the B-29 crew and also flies their B-24 Liberator. The B-29 will be accompanied by the P-51 Mustang Gunfighter and other historic military airplanes including a C-45 Expeditor and PT-13 Stearman. The aircraft will be on display at the airport through July 7 for cockpit tours and rides.
Tippin dedicates his time and talent appearing and performing at various Commemorative Air Force events across the country, including the Red, White & Loud Tour celebrating America’s freedom through song and the flight of this iconic warbird, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, FIFI.
“For me, this is an opportunity of a lifetime to bring aviation enthusiasts and country fans together,” says Aaron, “I’m blessed because my kind of country music is patriotic and all-American. My involvement with the CAF caters to both aviation and country music enthusiasts.”
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, first flown in 1942, began active service in 1944 and is perhaps best known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring about the end of World War II. It was designed as a replacement for the older B-17s and B-24s, with longer range and greater bomb loads. The B-29 was also used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S. Air Force until the late 1950s.
Aviation visionary Sarah Wilson will accompany the tour in Nashville with her Stearman Speedmail, recreating the magic and excitement of aviation in the 1930s. This 1929 airplane is the oldest surviving Stearman Model 4 Speedmail and is a real life celebrity vehicle. Originally delivered to the Richfield Oil Company on October 28, 1929, this plane was the flagship for the Jimmie Allen Flying Club based on the popular radio program The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen. The Jimmie Allen radio series and Flying Club were important tools and greatly influenced the generation that would fly in WWII.
The event, located at 238 Doug Warpolle Road in Smyrna, is open to the public and will allow attendees to get up close to these famous military aircraft. Gates are open from 2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission cost for the event is $10 per person and $20 for mom, dad and kids. Cockpit tours in the B-29 are included and will be available when the airplane is not in motion. There are opportunities for attendees to purchase a ride in the airplanes. Visit www.AirPowerTour.org for more information about the tour schedule and to make ride reservations. The cost for airplane rides ranges from $65 to $1995. There is a discount for seats purchased on line.
The mission of the Commemorative Air Force is to honor the men and women who built, maintained and flew in these airplanes during World War II. The organization believes that mission is best accomplished by maintaining the airplanes in flying condition; taking the airplanes to the people allowing them to experience the sight and sound of the aircraft in flight.