Wondering just what the title is about?
Well, now that I have your attention…
I recently had the fortune/privilege of seeing the only operable Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber in the world (at least as of March 2015), Fifi.
It was a strange day in some ways.
On one hand, there was the awe of what was the biggest and baddest bomber of its’ time.
There was the awe of watching her awaken from a slumber and prepare for flight. The smell of unburnt fuel as the revolutions built, the puffs of sweetly acrid smoke dissipating into the air. The vibration at my feet.
The realization that not only was I watching a machine, but one made for war.
As I said, it wasn’t just a “let’s go take airplane pictures” kind of day. It was a day of reflection.
There were World War II Veterans there, including at least one who flew in one of Fifi’s kin, a member of a P-38 Ground Crew, and a P-51 pilot. There were people of all nations and colors.
Many cheered when Fifi’s fourth engine reached full revs. I wonder if they were cheering for Fifi as she is or what she represents to each of them.
It made me think of something related, but not.
My mind went to the the smiling boy I remember from across the street went to war as a young man, and didn’t come home. I was probably reflecting differently than most that day. I’ll stop there, because we all reflect upon war and loss differently.
But, let’s look at Fifi for what she is – an aircraft of a bygone era. Technologically, the B-29 was at the leading edge of bomber design at that time. And, I got to see her fly in 2015.
If you’d like to learn more about the B-29, click here for Wikipedia’s page, and here for Boeing’s page.
If you’d like to see Fifi as she awakens, click here to be taken to the Laughing Frog Images YouTube page or click here to be taken directly to the video. It’s not the greatest video in the world, as I had to hold my phone above people, and try to keep it steady for about four minutes – so I apologize for the technical quality, but not the content.
I am working on a gallery of Fifi for Laughing Frog Images. In the interest of being true to Fifi’s era, all of the images will be in Black and White. There will be two versions of each image – one will mimic Kodak Panatomic X film (“Pan-X”), and one will mimic the grainy reproduction of a newspaper of the era. It will be interesting to see what the feedback is on the two versions.