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The Superfortress Graveyard: B-29s Really Did Inhabit The Deserts of The American West

Watch This Photographic Essay Depicting The B-29s Stored at NAWS China Lake Back in 1978

Screen Capture Courtesy airailimages

This photographic essay documents the Boeing B-29 Superfortress boneyard at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake in 1978. Nearly 70 B-29s spent time in one target area or another at China Lake. Some of those airframes were reclaimed and used again. Some of the B-29s there were brought to the site already in pieces. But over the years there have been a number of survivors pulled from the Mojave Desert at China Lake and displayed. Several of those aircraft appear in this video. Thanks to YouTuber airailimages for sharing these moments in time.

The two most famous China Lake survivors are the Commemorative Air Force B-29 Fifi (B-29A-60-BN, 44-62070) and the recently restored to airworthiness B-29 Doc (B-29-70-BW, 44-69972). However, many more airframes made it out of the desert to be displayed. Two were actually flown out. Three Feathers (B-29A-40-BN, 44-61669) was flown to March AFB in 1981 after six years of work required to make the bomber airworthy. It’s Hawg Wild (B-29A-45-BN, 44-61748) was resurrected and flown all the way to the UK where she resides at the American Air Museum of the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.

Photograph Courtesy Commemorative Air Force

Other Survivors of the China Lake target areas include B-29-45-BW 42-24791, whose nose section is on display in Seattle and the rest of the airframe is stored at the National Museum of the Air Force at Dayton in Ohio. B-29-25-MO 42-65281 is currently on display at Travis AFB in California. B-29A-35-BN 44-61535 and B-29A-75-BW 44-70064 are displayed together as a single airframe at Castle AFB in California.

Official US Air Force Photograph

B-29A-60-BN 44-62022 is displayed at the Fred E Weisbrod Museum in Pueblo, Colorado. The forward fuselage of B-29A-70-BN 44-62222 is on display at the Pima County Air Museum in Arizona while the rear fuselage resides at Disney Studios. B-29-60-BW 44-69729 resides at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. B-29-70-BW 44-69983 made its way to the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Photograph Courtesy

B-29-75-BW 44-70102 didn’t have to go far to be displayed at the China Lake Museum compound. B-29-80-BW 44-87627 is located at the Global Power Museum at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. B-29-90-BW 44-87779 is on display at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum. B-29-90-BW 45-21739 made it all the way to the KAI Aerospace Museum in Sacheon near Seoul in South Korea. Note that this list consists only of China Lake survivors and not all surviving B-29s. There is also a Boeing B-47 Stratojet depicted in the slideshow.

Official US Air Force Photograph

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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