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Last airworthy B-29 bomber lands at Camarillo

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POSTED March 19, 2013 7:48 p.m.

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The last airworthy B-29 bomber made a landing at a fog-shrouded Southern California airfield, where it will be on display as part of an exhibition of vintage aircraft.

The flight of the four-engine plane, nicknamed "Fifi," had to be delayed for several hours Monday because of poor visibility at Camarillo Airport.

About 300 people were on hand for the landing, including 82-year-old Joe Catrambone of Moorpark, who flew 28 missions as a gunner on a B-29 in the Korean War.

It wasn't the first time Catrambone had seen Fifi. He rode along on a flight at an air show in Texas about 10 years ago.

"Once I got inside, it was like deja vu," Catrambone told the Star. "The smell was the same. ... Everything began to come back to me. By the time I walked from front to back I could've done my job again."

Fifi arrived from Palm Springs with an escort of five other World War II-era planes. It will be part of a three-day exhibition at the airport's Commemorative Air Force Museum. Then the propeller-driven plane will be flown to Burbank for a weekend show at Bob Hope Airport.

Only a few B-29 Superfortress bombers remain from a U.S. fleet that once numbered in the thousands, and CAF officials said Fifi is the only one that still flies.

Fifi never saw combat. It was delivered to the Air Force soon after the war ended and stayed in the U.S. during the Korean War.

The CAF, a nonprofit that collects and exhibits vintage combat aircraft, bought it from the Air Force in the 1970s and restored it.

 

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