World War II historic aircraft visits Charleston area

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A unique aircraft that played an important role in United States history is in the Charleston area for a short period of time.

It’s commonly known for its contribution to ending World War II.

The B-29 Superfortress “FiFi” displayed at the Capital Jet Center has been around since July 31, 1945. It’s the largest and most technically advanced aircraft of its time and first flown in 1942. 

“B-29 is the weapon system that brought that war finally to an end. There were many facets and many different services that fought hard in that war,” Allen Benzing, Aircraft Commander said.

The aircraft has traveled coast-to-coast, as well as Canada – giving people tours of its one-of-a-kind design.

“So, this was designed to carry bombs. Eventually, they flew from the Northern Mariana Islands, which are Saipan, Guam and Tinian, 1500 miles up to bomb Japan,” Benzing said.

B-29 was also used in the Korean war in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S Air Force until 1960.

Commander Benzing says not many people take the time to learn the history behind the war.

“It’s so easily forgotten a generation or two goes by and pretty soon the history book, you have about a paragraph a world war 2 happened,” Benzing said.

World War II ended in the 1945, but the aircraft is used to honor the men and women who built it and educate the public.

“There were very many sailors, marines, army soldiers, airmen that gave their lives in World War II to fight Nazis and you know the Japanese who were really trying to dominate the world,” Benzing said.

Monday is the only day people will be able to board the b-29 flight at 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. Guests will be required to wear a mask and the aircraft will be cleaned between each flight.

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