Surviving B-29 Superfortresses: A Visitor’s Guide

Surviving B-29 Superfortresses: A Visitor’s Guide

Surviving Boeing B-29 Superfortress: Where to see them?

The B-29 is an iconic aircraft that played a crucial role in World War II and the dawn of the atomic age.
Want to witness one of these birds in person? You are lucky as a select few have been carefully preserved and restored for future generations to marvel at.

In this article, we’ll take you on a captivating journey to the must-visit locations where you can experience the majesty of these colossal aircraft up close. So buckle up and prepare for takeoff as we embark on an extraordinary adventure to explore the surviving B-29 Superfortresses and the stories that surround them.

By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about the B-29, check out our article on the must-known facts about this amazing aircraft.

Let’s dive right in!

A Little of History

Following the end of World War II, the B-29 airplanes were flown back to the United States and dispersed across airfields in California, Texas, Oklahoma, and Maryland. After salvaging usable parts, the B-29s shared the fate of the B-17s and B-24s, disassembled and melted down by scrap dealers.

As newer aircraft models emerged, the Air Force gradually retired the B-29 from service, culminating in the Strategic Air Command’s final B-29 bomber flight on November 4, 1954. Subsequently, the Navy acquired several B-29s for testing purposes at both the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and China Lake in California. Although the exact number of transferred aircraft remains undetermined, it is believed that at least fifty were sent to China Lake and around a dozen to Aberdeen.

Located approximately 200 miles southwest of Castle Air Force Base, the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake has long been a testing ground for various types of aircraft and weapons. This expansive facility has welcomed decommissioned airplanes and helicopters of all sorts, providing a secure environment for pilots to engage in target practice using machine guns, cannons, napalm, bombs, and other destructive means.

In the aftermath of World War II, China Lake received a substantial number of B-29 Superfortresses that were deemed surplus by the Air Force. Sadly, most of these historically significant aircraft met their end as targets, much to the dismay of present-day preservationists.

A lonely destroyed B-29 in China Lake, California. (Maps Data: Google, @2023 Maxar Technologies)

The remote location of China Lake’s ranges allowed the Navy to conduct live-fire exercises, launching weapons at flying drones and dropping ordnance on stationary targets. Consequently, the B-29 fleet stationed at China Lake fell victim to radar-guided bombs and missiles, leaving many of these iconic Superfortresses in ruins.

By the early 1970s, testing had annihilated almost all of the B-29s at China Lake. With only a few nearly intact examples remaining, aircraft museums competed fervently to acquire these rare pieces of aviation history.

Aberdeen Proving Ground

The Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, a lesser-known aircraft testing site compared to its counterparts in Arizona, Texas, and California, played a significant role in the fate of many B-29 Superfortresses.

At Aberdeen, these aircraft underwent survivability testing, during which fuselage and wing sections were targeted by both existing and newly developed aircraft weapons. These tests allowed researchers to assess the damage, examine warhead fragmentation patterns, and explore ways to better protect aircrews and equipment.

By 1973, an astonishing quantity of B-29s, some sources say 500, had been completely destroyed by technicians conducting weapons tests at Aberdeen. However, the final eight surviving aircraft were spared from this fate and ultimately found homes in museums or military bases across Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Missouri, after passing through New Hampshire.

Restoration and preservation efforts

Out of the nearly 4,000 B-29s built, only 26 remain, boasting an impressive 0.6 percent survivorship rate given their size and complexity. Among these survivors, two are flyable, 22 serve as static displays, and two are either in storage or undergoing restoration.

Not all survivors were combat veterans in the strategic bombing campaign against Japan during World War II; however, at least nine of them participated, including Enola Gay and Bockscar from the 509th Composite Group, while the other flew conventional bombardment missions.

Most of these aircraft, except for Enola Gay and Bockscar, were not preserved immediately after the war. Preservation efforts began in the 1970s, as several B-29s were rescued from locations like the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and Aberdeen Proving Ground, where they were initially sent for weapons testing.

These aircraft were restored and sent to museums in the United States and Great Britain. While the most valuable B-29s, such as Enola Gay and Bockscar, are displayed indoors, some are displayed outdoors due to their large size. Some of these outdoor exhibits are maintained under strict guidelines to ensure the protection and preservation of these historic artifacts.

For the complete list of surviving B-29s in just one table check out Surviving Boeing B-29 Superfortress Detailed List

Surviving B-29s Displayed indoor

Enola Gay, the most famous U.S. aircraft,  at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Enola Gay, the most famous U.S. aircraft, at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (U.S. Army photo)

Eight surviving B-29s are on display indoors at various museums, with the two most significant being the Enola Gay and Bockscar.

The Enola Gay, arguably the most renowned aircraft in American history, is showcased at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Before you continue, make sure to explore the story of The Enola Gay.

Bockscar, the aircraft responsible for dropping the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, has been extensively restored and can be found at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.

The eight B-29s on indoor display are:

BockscarCompleteNational Museum of the U.S. Air Force (NMUSAF) in Wright-Patterson AFBOhioInventory
T-Square 54CompleteMuseum of Flight in SeattleWashingtonChina Lake
Sentimental Journey CompletePima Air and Space Museum in TucsonArizonaInventory
Big RedCompleteMuseum of Aviation in Robbins AFBGeorgiaAberdeen PG
44-84076B-29B-60-BALucky LadyCompleteStrategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in AshlandNebraskaInventory
44-62022B-29A-60-BNPeachyCompletePueblo Wisboro Aircraft Museum in PuebloColoradoChina Lake
44-61975B-29A-55-BNJack's HackCompleteNew England Air Museum (NEAM) in Windsor LocksConnecticutAberdeen PG
Enola GayCompleteSteven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in ChantillyWashington DCInventory

The Enola Gay controversy

In 1995, the Smithsonian Institution faced significant controversy over its plans to exhibit a restored portion of the Enola Gay’s fuselage on the National Air and Space Museum’s fiftieth anniversary.

Veteran groups, politicians, and donors criticized the museum for placing too much emphasis on the Japanese victims of the atomic blast. The original exhibition proposal aimed to showcase the historic B-29, Enola Gay, within a display that questioned the wisdom, morality, and necessity of the aircraft’s atomic bombing mission, primarily portraying the aggressor as the victim.

However, under the pressure, the exhibit was modified to allow visitors to form their own interpretations of the ethical implications of using the atomic bomb.

Surviving B-29s Displayed outdoor

B-29 The Great Artiste at Whiteman AFB
The Great Artiste at Whiteman AFB (U.S. Air Force photo)

Eleven surviving B-29s are displayed outdoors, primarily at Air Force bases. In most instances, the museums housing these aircraft are not located on the US Air Force installations themselves and are accessible to the general public.

However, at Travis Air Force Base, foreign visitors (non-US residents) are required to register before gaining entry to visit the museum, a process that may take 3-5 weeks. Similarly, Barksdale Air Force Base mandates that visitors from foreign nations schedule their museum visits 30 days in advance.

As for The Great Artiste, it is situated on secured Whiteman AFB property and is not openly accessible to the public without prior access approval. Those interested in visiting should inquire with base security regarding photography access, credentials, and escort policies.

44-61535B-29A-35-BNRaz'n HellCompleteCastle Air Museum in Castle AFBCaliforniaChina Lake
42-65281B-29-25-MOMiss America 62CompleteTravis Air Force Base Aviation Museum in Travis AFBCaliforniaChina Lake
44-27343B-29-40-MOCompleteCharles B. Hall Airpark in Tinker AFBOklahomaAberdeen PG
44-61669B-29A-40-BNFlagship 500CompleteMarch Field Air Museum in March Air Reserve BaseCaliforniaChina Lake
Great ArtisteCompleteWhiteman AFBMissouriAberdeen PG
Joltin’ Josie the Pacific Pioneer
CompleteLackland Airpark in Lackland AFBTexasAberdeen PG
44-70113B-29-80-BWSweet EloiseCompleteDobbins Air Reserve BaseGeorgiaAberdeen PG
Straight FlushCompleteHill Aerospace Museum in Hill AFBUtahDugway PG
44-87627B-29-80-BWBossier CityCompleteBarksdale Global Power Museum in Barksdale Air Force BaseLouisianaAberdeen PG
Legal Eagle IICompleteSouth Dakota Air and Space Museum in Ellsworth AFBSouth DakotaChina Lake
45-21748B-29-97-BWDuke of AlbuquerqueCompleteNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History in AlbuquerqueNew MexicoChina Lake
42-93967B-29A-15-BNDark SideCompleteGeorgia Veterans State Park in CordaleGeorgiaAberdeen PG

Flyable B-29s

B-29 “FiFi” flying at the Joint Base San Antonio Air Show and Open House Nov. 4, 2017
“FiFi” flying at the Joint Base San Antonio Air Show and Open House Nov. 4, 2017 (U.S. Air Force photo)

Currently, only two airworthy B-29s exist in the world, both of which offer the opportunity to arrange a flight. FiFi, stationed in Fort Worth, Texas, held the title of the sole flyable B-29 Superfortress for nearly five decades. This changed in 2016 with the restoration of Doc, now based in Wichita, Kansas.


In 1966, the Confederate Air Force (CAF), later renamed the Commemorative Air Force in 2004, sought to include a B-29 Superfortress in its collection. They found several deteriorating aircraft at the Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, California.

After selecting one suitable for restoration, B-29A-60-BN 44-62070, the CAF underwent a lengthy paperwork process and had a maintenance crew work tirelessly on the aircraft. Despite Navy regulations preventing a test flight, the B-29 impressively completed its first flight in seventeen years in March 1971, covering a nonstop 1,250-mile journey from China Lake to Harlingen, Texas, without any issues.

The comprehensive restoration process took over three years, with volunteers dedicating months to repairing the aircraft. When completed, the bomber was christened FiFi in honor of the major financial sponsor Victor Agather’s wife.

The Commemorative Air Force has since toured FiFi around the United States for over thirty years. From 2005 to 2010, the aircraft underwent a major overhaul, ensuring it would continue to fly for another three decades.

If you want to reserve a seat in FIFI you can book it through the CAF’s National Air Tour of Historic WWII Aircraft site.


Doc, the second flyable B-29, is owned by aircraft enthusiast Tony Mazzolini. 44-69972 is named after the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs character Doc.

In 1998, with the help of dozens of local volunteers, Mazzolini towed the Superfortress from China Lake ranges to Inyokern Airport. Two years later, Doc was transported to the Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas, where it was originally built by McDonnell Aircraft Company in 1944.

The Boeing Company provided facilities and tools for the restoration, while volunteer aviation enthusiasts carried out the work. However, structural damage to the aircraft posed a significant challenge.

In 2016, Doc was successfully restored to airworthiness at the Kansas Aviation Museum and has since made appearances in a limited number of air shows.

When not flying, DOC is in “The B-29 Doc Hangar, Education and Visitors Center” at Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita, Kansas. You can plan your visit using Doc’s site.

B-29s on display outside of the United States

44-61748 Hawg Wild at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England

44-61748 Hawg Wild at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England (Photo by Falcon® Photography / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Apart from the numerous B-29s found in the United States, there are two additional notable examples located in England and South Korea.

The Imperial War Museum in Duxford, England, proudly displays a B-29 that was flown across the Atlantic after being salvaged from China Lake in California. Meanwhile, in South Korea, the UN Korean War Allies Association exhibits a B-29 that was disassembled and shipped also from China Lake.

Hawg WildCompleteImperial War Museum in DuxfordEnglandChina Lake
CompleteKAI Aerospace Museum in SacheonSouth KoreaChina Lake

South Korea

B-29 45-21739 is a China Lake Superfortress that was donated to the UN Korean War Allies Association and has been on display at their museum in Seoul, Korea since 1972. In March 1972, the aircraft was disassembled into 18 parts and shipped from China Lake, California to Seoul.

The Republic of Korea Air Force reassembled the B-29, and it was initially displayed at the Yoido Museum starting in August 1972. Later, in 1995, the aircraft was relocated to Sacheon. Upon its recovery in 1972 and placement in the Seoul Museum, the plane was named “Unification.”


B-29A-45-BN 44-61748, built too late for World War II, was actively involved in the Korean War. Known as “It’s Hawg Wild,” it flew 105 missions against North Korea from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. In November 1956, the bomber arrived at China Lake and remained there for twenty years until the U.S. Navy gifted it to the Imperial War Museum in 1979.

The aircraft was then recovered and ferried to Tucson, Arizona, where it was prepared for the flight to Duxford. Initially, the Imperial War Museum considered dismantling the bomber and shipping it to the United Kingdom. However, Aero Services of Tucson, Arizona, offered to fly the plane to England for $10,000 less than the next lowest bid to dismantle and ship it, ultimately making the decision to fly the aircraft to its destination.

Fuselage sections on public display

(Photo by Valder137/ CC BY 2.0)

Several museums showcase sections of B-29 fuselage rather than complete aircraft.

The Fantasy of Flight Museum displays the nose section of a B-29 Superfortress (Serial No. 45-21787, Reg. No. N29KW) in its North Hangar.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (NMUSAF) in Wright-Patterson AFB exhibits a B-29 fuselage painted in the colors of “Command Decision,” a veteran of the Korean Conflict which boasts five claimed victories against MiGs. This particular fuselage is open for walk-through inspection by visitors.

45-21787B-29-95-BWFertile MyrtleCompleteWeeks Fantasy of Flight Museum in Polk CityFloridaLitchfield Park
44-62139B-29A-65-BNCommand DecisionPartialUSAF Museum in Wright-Patterson AFBOhioForward fuselage painted to represent 44-87657Inventory

Not easily accessible

A National Park Service archeologist examining the nose damage on 45-21847 in Lake Mead, Nevada
A National Park Service archeologist examining the nose damage on 45-21847 in Lake Mead, Nevada (Photo by Lake Mead NRA Public Affairs / CC BY-SA 2.0)

In the waters of Lake Mead, Nevada, diving enthusiasts have the unique opportunity to explore the wreck of a B-29 Superfortress. This Boeing B-29, 45-21847, crashed in the Overton Arm of Lake Mead in July 1948, and the National Park Service now serves as its custodian. Although the wreck is located below typical recreational diving depths, properly trained technical divers can access the site.

The aircraft is remarkably intact, aside from the loss of three engines during its ditching. The preservation level is impressive, with visible instrument readings, well-maintained aluminum skin and structural components, and a readable, shiny metal data plate on the engine.

The wreck is a sought-after destination for many wreck divers, and commercial tours are available through Las Vegas Scuba, LLC and Scuba Training and Technology Inc.

More information about visiting 45-21847 in National Park Service’s Historic Lake Mead B-29

Other wrecks include the “Lady in the Lake” in Eielson AFB in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Kee Bird in Greenland:

45-21768B-29-95-BWKee BirdPartialGreenland Ice Cap FairbanksGreenlandInventory
44-62214B-29A-70-BNLady in the LakePartialEielson AFB in FairbanksAlaska Also identified as 44-83905Inventory
45-21847B-29-100-BWBeetle BombPartialLake MeadNevadaInventory

Various stages of completeness, not on display

Finally, the are other B-29s that are not on public display but are in storage:

44-70049CompleteIn storage at Borrego Springs, for Kermit Weeks.CaliforniaChina Lake
42-65401PartialStockton Field Aviation Museum in StocktonCaliforniaNose section
44-61739PartialMuseum of Aviation, Robbins AFBGeorgiaNose section
42-24791B-29-50-BWPartialIn storage in Maryland for QuestMasters Online Museum.Maryland Nose section: The Big Time Operator; tail gunner’s compartment in private collection in CaliforniaChina Lake
Here’s Hopin
PartialIn storage at the Naval Museum of Armament and Technology in China Lake, RidgecrestCaliforniaChina Lake
44-84084PartialIn storage at Borrego Springs, California, for Kermit Weeks.CaliforniaDugway PG
42-94052PartialOn the range at Dugway Proving GroundUtahForward fuselage
44-62112PartialPima Air and Space Museum in TucsonArizona


In conclusion, the United States offers a wealth of opportunities for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs to witness the iconic B-29 Superfortress in various forms. Whether you live in the US or plan a visit, numerous museums and air bases showcase these impressive aircraft, with some even allowing walk-through inspections or displaying fuselage sections.

For a truly unique experience, enthusiasts can take to the skies aboard one of the two airworthy B-29s or even dive to explore the preserved wreck in Lake Mead, Alaska.

Regardless of your preferred mode of interaction, the surviving B-29s provide a fascinating window into an important chapter of aviation and military history.

Further reading


  • Superfortress, the Boeing B-29 (Aircraft Specials series 6028) by Steve Birdsall
  • Hidden Warbirds: The Epic Stories of Finding, Recovering, and Rebuilding WWII’s Lost by Nicholas A. Veronico
  • Boeing B-29 Superfortress Manual 1942-60 (all marks): An insight into the design, operation, maintenance, and restoration of the USA’s giant long-range heavy bomber (Owners’ Workshop Manual) by Chris Howlett
  • The B-29 Superfortress: A Comprehensive Registry of the Planes and Their Missions by Robert A. Mann

Now it is your turn

Have you ever visited one of these B-29s? or, are you planning a visit?

Or maybe you have a question.

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below right now.

Javier Guerrero
Javier Guerrero
Javier is the editor @ Nuclear Companion and loves to investigate and write about the cold war.

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