Friday, July 20, 2012

B-29 (Fifi) Tail Section Explained at Cedar Rapids CID

Yesterday at the Eastern Iowa Airport (CID,) a crew member of Fifi, a World War II B-29 bomber explained to me about the tail gun section of the 67 year plane. My late uncle once told me that he was a tail gunner aboard a B-29 during WWII and may have been a gunner on other stations of the craft. Since the bomber was pressurized unlike the open B-17, the gunner traveled to his location from the forward crew compartment. He crawled through a tunnel the length of the plane until he reached a hatch. 

While at Fifi's static display at the airport the crew member climbed ahead of me into the rear of the plane. He allowed me to peek in the tail section to see the open hatch where the tail gunner would enter. The crew member explained that the gunner would then stand and operate optical instruments that fed data to a weapons computer. He explained that my uncle would have engaged the computer and then pulled the trigger to fire the 50 caliber machine guns. It was an interesting tour of the B-29 and it permitted me to see how a tail gunner would operate equipment under combat situations. Fifi flies next to Oshkosh on Saturday morning to attend the EAA airshow.

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