B-29 Superfortress grounded with flat tire at 2014 Olympic Air Show

Staff writerJune 14, 2014 

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    The 16th annual Olympic Air Show runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (June 14-15) at the Olympia Regional Airport, 7643 Old Highway 99 Southeast. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the gate, and admission is free for children 6 and younger. To learn more, visit olympicairshow.com.

One of the main attractions at the 2014 Olympic Air Show has been temporarily sidelined – with a flat tire.

The world’s lone operational B-29 Superfortress, known as Fifi, suffered the setback while landing Friday outside the Olympic Flight Museum. A representative from the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) has confirmed that replacement tires are on their way from Dallas and should arrive Monday.

As a result, Fifi will stay on the ground during this weekend’s air show. Some people paid up to $1,500 for a flight on the B-29, and the CAF offered to either refund their money or reschedule their flights for Tuesday.

Olympia resident Glen Dake is among those coming back Tuesday morning for a ride on the legendary World War II era bomber, the same kind that dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. Dake had booked one of the more affordable seats at $575, and is willing to wait a few days longer for the flight.

“It’s a beautiful Father’s Day gift. My wife loves me,” Dake said Saturday about the upcoming flight. “It’s kind of like making a donation to keep this baby running.”

Attendees of all ages lined up to tour the B-29’s cockpit, but also roamed the grounds to view all the antique planes and helicopters at Olympia Regional Airport. The aerial performances began in the afternoon as planes buzzed through the sky, leaving trails of smoke.

Another star attraction this weekend is the FG-1D Corsair. Built in 1945, this fighter plane just returned to the museum after 11 and a half years of restoration work. Its likeness is painted on the front of the museum’s hangar.

“It’s gorgeous, it’s lovely, it’s perfect,” said Teri Thorning, the museum’s executive director and coordinator of the 16th annual event. She expects about 5,000 people to attend this weekend.

Although excited about the Corsair’s return, Thorning said the B-29’s appearance is a rarity to remember.

“It’s the only one flying the world,” she said. “How lucky are we to have that kind of asset here in Thurston County?”

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869 ahobbs@theolympian.com @andyhobbs

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