Debbie King will fly the B-29 Superfortress this weekend in California
[May 5, 2017, Thermal, California]- Debbie King, the first woman to fly the B-29 since World War II, will fly as co-pilot on FIFI, the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) iconic Boeing B‐29 Superfortress. The World War II Bomber will be at at Cochran Regional Airport in Thermal, CA for a five-day tour stop. It will fly this weekend at 9 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
The tour stop is part of the CAF WWII AirPower History Tour, a group of flying World War II aircraft including fighter, transport and trainer aircraft. All aircraft are available to the public for tours and rides (additional fees may apply for access.)
The iconic B-29 make its mark in history when in 1944, young World War II pilots were intimidated by the new and complicated B-29. Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets came up with a solution to calm the nerves of his male pilots. His solution was to show the men it was “so easy even a woman could do it.” After only three days of training, Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) Dora Dougherty Strother and Dorothea “Didi” Johnson Moorman, the two female pilots were readied to show their skills piloting the B-29. Dora and Didi spent several days ferrying pilots, crew chiefs and navigators. The male pilots decided Tibbets was right, that flying the B-29 would be easy done.
Debbie likes to tell this story when she is touring with the B-29. She is the only woman in the world since 1943 authorized to fly the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Debbie began earning her flight certificates in high school and finished them in college at Texas A&M University. She earned her CFI and CFII directly after and later earned her jet ratings and Air Transport Pilot certificate. She has been an on-demand charter pilot, and now tours with the CAF B-29 as a volunteer pilot.
While Debbie is a rare female pilot, the B-29 Superfortress is also rare. FIFI is one of only two remaining airworthy B-29s in the world and the only one that flies regularly. 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. It was designed as a replacement for the older B‐17s and B‐24s, with longer range and greater bomb loads. The airplane represented state of the art technology at the time. 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.
ABOUT THE EVENT:
For the tour stop at Cochran Regional Airport the B-29 will be accompanied by other vintage military aircraft including an extremely rare A6M Japanese Zero, C‐45 Expeditor, and a T‐6 Texan. Visitors may tour the B‐29 cockpit and purchase rides in the B-29, C-45, and T-6.
WHERE: Cochran Regional Airport, Desert Jet, 56600 Invader Avenue, Thermal, CA 92274
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, at 9 a.m.
The donation for ramp access is $10 for adults and $5 for children age 11‐17. Children age 10 and under are free. The airplanes will be on static display when they are not flying. Ride prices range from $75 to $1795 and reservations may be made at http://www.AirPowerTour.org where additional information about the tour stop may also be found. FIFI, celebrating her 43rd year with the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) in 2017, is visiting local airports throughout the United States as the feature aircraft in the CAF AirPower History Tour. The tour brings aircraft, pilots and crews from over 60 CAF units located throughout the country together to create an ever changing assortment of touring military airplanes. These aircraft are powerful history lessons bringing the sights, sounds and stories of World War II aviation history to audiences across the United States. Learn more about FIFI and her tour schedule at www.AirPowerTour.org.