Watch for the History, Then Read About the China Lake Survivors That Were Saved
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 Most Famous (and Airworthy) Survivors
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.
In Whole or Just Pieces
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.
Movie Props and Museum Pieces
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.
Local or Long-Distance
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.