Her name is Fifi, and she is an example of American ingenuity and technology that helped win World War II and give the Greatest Generation its name.
Sadly, just as other heroes of that time are becoming fewer and fewer in number with each passing day, she’s one of the last of her kind, too.
Of course, we are talking about the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that landed at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport on Tuesday.
The plane is one of only two of the big bombers left flying, according to staff writer Mark Guydish, and she will be parked at our airport through Sunday.
We all know that the Enola Gay, which delivered one of the atomic bombs that ended the war, was a B-29, and Mark’s story is full of facts and trivia about Fifi and B-29s in general.
For example, 3,970 were built between 1942 and 1946. And did you know that B-29s flew so high in early raids over Japan that they helped the military discover the jet stream?
However, the most important thing to know about the plane is that the B-29 Superfortress played a key role in helping turn the tide against the Axis powers.
And area residents have a real gem of an opportunity to see a bona fide piece of history up close and personal – an opportunity we all hope they will take.
Take the family to visit Fifi. While you are there, you will also be able to see a C-45 Expeditor dubbed “Bucket of Bolts” (a well-earned moniker, pilot Johathan Oliver said with a smile), and a T-6 Texan.
Use the tour of the vintage planes as a teaching moment to remind the kids of the sacrifices made all those years ago so they can enjoy the freedoms they do now.
Or go by yourself and pay silent tribute to all those brave men who climbed into B-29s and other military aircraft to fight in far-off lands and the people on the homefront who crafted such marvelous devices.
“It’s a beautiful machine,” pilot Allen Benzing told Guydish.
Opinions could differ on that, but certainly there’s no argument that we all live in a better world thanks to Fifi and other planes like her.
— Times Leader