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This rich fire out of the turbocharger is during runup of the outboard starboard engine on "FIFI" the only flying B-29 owned by the CAF in Texas. The R3350-57A engine is 18 cylinders (2 rows of 9 cylinders each) and is turbocharged for high altitude operation. The sound and fury of these old round motors will stir any gearhead's very being. There were at least 4,000 of these aircraft built and this unit is the only one left flying.


With all of FIFI's 72 cylinders firing, the stationary runup lasts several minutes. After the runup, she is either flown or placed back in the hangar. Two aircraft just like this one dropped the final bombs that ended WWII.

The next photo is a real piece of history. I hope that those of you that are familiar with the B-29 program will enjoy.

This is the crew of aircraft number 6346. This aircraft was also known as "Luke the Spook" and as this photo shows was prior to the application of nose art. One of my mentors (many years after the photo was taken) is the tall guy standing second from the right. His name was William E. "Bill" Hofer (1922 - 2000). Luke the Spook was a very special aircraft and it and the crew did something that nobody had ever done before. This crew and aircraft were assigned to the famed 509th BG.

This photo of Luke the Spook after noseart applied was taken on the island of Kwajalein and again my mentor (Bill Hofer) is the tall guy at the far right. Pretty sure that all the crew of the Spook has passed on at this point. IF you know otherwise, please let me know.             Spook photos courtesy of Robert Hofer (Bill's son).

Treat them like the queens that they are