BOISE -- It was a once-in-a-lifetime sight for many at the Boise Airport Thursday as three World War II aircraft were flown in by the Commemorative Air Force.
The Commemorative Air Force is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to keeping World War II aircraft in flyable condition. We consider ourselves the group that has a flying museum, said Jonathan Oliver, a volunteer with the CAF.
The CAF has 160 aircraft around the nation, all in flying condition, and all available to take folks for rides. Just last year, their C-45 alone took about 1,000 people on short trips through the air and through history.
But the real star of the tarmac arrived later.
We're here waiting on the most popular and exciting aircraft in the warbird industry, said Oliver. And that is the only flying World War II B-29.
As the Superfortress emerged in the skies above Boise, history came to life.
The B-29, of course, represents the end of World War II with the dropping of the big bombs, said Oliver.
But, helping this behemoth beat back the hands of time is no small task for a group of volunteers. Oliver says it requires 100 man hours for every hour of flight.
The engines are huge, 2200 horsepower, 18 cylinders, the propellers are 16-feet in diameter, wingspan is 144 feet. It's just a monster of an airplane to maintain, he said.
But, Oliver says it's all worth it to be able to give this moment to the World War II veterans and their families that come out to see a real live vision of their past.
They actually have tears in their eyes when they see the airplane, said Oliver. Because they remember and they realize how important it was as a part of ending that war. It either saved some family members. Some family members may have been lost in the airplane. But, it's a very emotional time for people to come out and see the airplane, and very rewarding for us to be able to bring it to them.
If you want to see it for yourself, the bomber and the other aircraft will be on display at the Jackson Jet Center, right by the Boise Airport, through Sunday. There is an admission fee, but kids under ten are free. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..
You can tour the bomber and purchase rides on the planes. If you see it, you might wonder why it's called FIFI. That's the name of the wife of the man who was instrumental in restoring it.