Written by: Jonathan Fink
Last year we went to Nebraska to see my grandparents (on my dads side) and I know them as Popo and Granny. The party we were going to was for an airplane and a whole bunch of people who worked on it.
Popo, my grandfather, is a volunteer at a museum called The Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska, which is between the cities of Lincoln and Omaha. Popo works in the Restoration Department where they tear apart old planes that have served our military and rebuild them to like new.
The crew of the Restoration Department spent the last six years working on just one big airplane. The B-29 was a very important airplane that was used during WWII and the Korean War. The most significant part of history for the B-29 was that it dropped the first nuclear bombs ever on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
It took six years to restore because has been outside for the last 70 years and was in pretty bad shape. This plane was built in the early 1940’s to serve in WWII. The plane was 99 feet long, the wingspan is 141 feet and it is 28 feet tall from the top of the tail to the ground. The plane weighed 130,000 pounds but could fly up to 357 miles per hour because of its four super charged radial engines that produced 2,200 horsepower each.
Popo worked mostly on the inside parts of the plane. He was especially proud of the new toilet he built, that and the Plexiglas observation window on the side of the plane. The entire cockpit looks like it came straight from the factory in 1944. Popo and all of the restoration crew are very proud of how well the plane came out.
The museum was so proud of their newly restored B-29 that they threw a big party for all of their donors and employees. There were over 300 people there and they kept the plane in a closed hanger until it was time for the big show. When they open the hanger doors, there was smoke and colored lights just like at a movie premier. They had named the plane “Lucky Lady”. We got to go through the entire plane to see all of the great work my Popo did on this plane.
My Popo is very proud of all the work he does at the museum because it will allow people from all over the world to see these planes that are such an important part of world history for many years to come.