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Historic bomber lands in Windsor



by Adam Gault

One of two still operational B-29 Superfortress bombers landed in Windsor on Monday, August 20. The bomber was displayed and featured in public tours at the airport-area Canadian Historical Aircraft Association for the remainder of the week.

  The aircraft, named “FIFI,” was constructed in Washington State in 1945 and never served in the Second World War. Retired in 1958, the aircraft sat, decaying, in the California desert until it was rediscovered and restored to flyable condition in the 1970s.

  “It gave me chills when I came in on Monday when it flew in,” Canadian Historical Aircraft Association Vice President, Don Christopher, said of the B-29’s arrival. “[Wednesday night] we had the nighttime photo shoot. It was all lit up and they started the engines. It’s amazing. You’re talking 3000 horsepower times four, and when that thing lights up, it makes the earth shake.”

  Introduced by the United States Airforce in 1944, it was one of the largest aircrafts in service during the war, and featured many technological advancements for its time, including four remote machine gun turrets, which could be operated by a single gunner as well as a pressurized cabin.

  Part of the B-29’s lasting interest and appeal to history and aviation enthusiasts, is the infamous role the bomber played in the deciding events of the War in the Pacific. It carried the atomic payloads to both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945, ending WWII, and marked the only time an atomic bomb attack had been carried out in the history of warfare.

  “Unfortunately, the most famous B-29, and I say unfortunately because of the loss of life, was the “Enola Gay,” which dropped the atomic bomb,” Christopher said. “That’s probably its biggest claim to fame, but you have to temper that with the fact that they estimated that if the U.S. had to invade Japan to end the war, it would have cost probably a million lives.”

  Christopher explained the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association seeks to honour Canadian veterans by restoring, displaying, flying, and educating members of the public about aircraft importance from Canadian aviation history and war efforts.

  “With that in mind, we are restoring the Lancaster Bomber that was in [Windsor’s] Jackson Park, and we’re building an authentic, flying replica of a Mosquito Bomber,” Christopher said of the association’s upcoming projects. “We pride ourselves on the fact that we’re really educating, especially young people, on the history that’s not being taught to them in school. We’re all here because we want to be here, we’re very passionate about what we do, and very passionate about passing on the stories that are told to us.”

  For more information on the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association, including hours and tour times, visit ch2a.ca 

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