LAKELAND, Fla. - When there's only one of these planes in the world that actually flies, it's worth coming to check it out. The B-29 Superfortress made a name for itself as an advanced bomber during World War II.
"We actually built almost 4,000 B-29's during the 1940's. And only a few relics have remained, of which there's only one that's flying," said David Oliver with the Commemorative Air Force.
The CAF, a non -profit group, spent millions restoring this B-29, named Fifi. But things didn't always look so good for this bomber.
"The Navy actually had a bunch of B-29's that they were using for target practice. And this airplane, believe it or not, was being used for missile target practice. And luckily, it wasn't destroyed and we were able to restore it," Oilver added.
Fifi was built just weeks before WWII ended, and never saw combat. But the B-29 plane has a reputation of historic proportions.
"This airplane has a tremendous significance because it represents so much technology that we pioneered during the day. It was the biggest bomber, went the fastest, carried the most weight and of course, ended up going down in the history books as the same type of airplane that dropped the atomic bomb," Oliver explained.
That plane, the Enola Gay, is housed at the Smithsonian. But for people that want to see, walk through or even pay to ride in a B-29, they have until Sunday to make it to the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. Several vintage planes will be on display at the CAF Air Power History Tour, including a rare 1929 PT-17 Stearman biplane. Sarah Wilson of Lakeland is the pilot of the biplane.
"People can come out and they can see this beautiful bomber, the only one flying in the world right now, the B-29. They can rides in all the planes; they get to tour them, get up close, meet the pilots and really get involved. It's a hands-on, kind of a fun activity just to bring your whole family, Wilson said.
"When people come out and see it, it just amazing to see the flood of emotion because it represents so many lives, so many women who built these airplanes and so many men who flew them," said Oliver.