World War II B29 touches down in the Magic City - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

World War II B29 touches down in the Magic City

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

Birmingham is the first stop on a tour for one of history's most important war birds. The B29 bomber helped end World War II. It's in town tonight allowing Alabamians a closer look at this piece of history. As we found out, the plane's legacy lives on,  through the people who sit in its cockpit.

"It's a fabulous job," Caren Landis, a crew member said. "It's not really a job. We all volunteer. It's a fabulous effort to keep this war bird flying."

It's not your average plane on the runway in Birmingham.

"We're putting all the down locks in and getting the aircraft secure," Greg Pitoniak, a flight engineer said to the crew.

Caren Landis is one of the few female b29 crew members.

"It keeps people in tune with the past so we don't repeat the same mistakes," Landis said.

For her, it's more than a job - it's her heritage.  Caren's dad was a radio operator in World War II.

"These are his original dog tags," she said. "I get so choked up. He was my hero. Our whole lives were filled with B29's growing up." 

The entire crew is part of the Commemorative Air Force - dedicated to preserving a piece of our nation's past.

"This one rolled off the assembly line in July of 1945," David Oliver, Flight Operations Officer said. "There were almost 4,000 B29's that were built but this is the last one that still continues to fly today."

"It was part of the apparatus that won the war in the Pacific," another crew member told us.  "This type of aircraft dropped the only 2 atomic bombs, nuclear weapons  that were used in a war."

"Fifi" is named after an original pilot's wife. Pilots say their aim is to give a ride as if the passengers are flying in World War II.

"It's got big 16 foot diameter propellers its loud and uncomfortable, there's no interior," Oliver said.

"We want to keep the history of the aircraft - particularly the veterans who were involved in our nation's history at a very important time - we want to preserve their stories," Oliver said.

If you're interested in learning more about the CAF or if you want to get a ticket for a flight visit this site: http://www.airpowersquadron.org/#!birmingham-al/c18tz

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