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Help the Nuclear Museum restore one of the 17 B29 bombers remaining in the world. Kickstarter funds will pay for exterior restoration.
Help the Nuclear Museum restore one of the 17 B29 bombers remaining in the world. Kickstarter funds will pay for exterior restoration.
Help the Nuclear Museum restore one of the 17 B29 bombers remaining in the world. Kickstarter funds will pay for exterior restoration.
516 backers pledged $47,751 to help bring this project to life.

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Restoration of the B-29 Superfortress at Nuclear Museum

$47,751

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You did it!!!!  

Our deepest thanks to all of you wonderful backers!

Now that the paint is paid for, the next $25,000 raised will go directly to purchasing new windows.

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, a non-profit Museum located in Albuquerque, NM, is restoring its B-29 Superfortress s/n 45-21748 and would like your help in paying for the surface preparation and painting of the exterior of the aircraft.

This historic aircraft, which is currently on display in the Museum’s 9-acre outdoor exhibit area known as Heritage Park, is one of only 17 complete aircraft left in existence of the 3,790 built suitable for display. Since the B-29 Superfortress is displayed outside, it is subject to the ravages of the southwestern weather, and this iconic piece of history is now showing it.

The total B-29 restoration cost is expected to be $140,000. Approximately 1/3 of this cost will be paid for by this Kickstarter project. The money will be used for the cosmetic restoration of the fuselage and wings. That is, to purchase the paint ($460 per gallon) and primer ($300 per gallon), prepare the surface and then paint the fuselage and wings (please see FAQs below for details). Any additional money raised will first go to the $25,000 needed to purchase and install new windows in the aircraft. If additional funds are available, they will go towards the production of a video that documents the past history and current restoration of the B-29.

The target completion date for the B-29 restoration is August 9, 2015, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and to coincide with the anniversary of its delivery from Boeing to the Air Force on August 9, 1945.

Fundraising and project planning are well underway for this massive undertaking, as seen on the Museum’s website, nuclearmuseum.org.  The project schedule can be seen here.

Please consider becoming a member of National Museum of Nuclear Science & History’s B-29 Restoration Team by making a donation through Kickstarter! As a part of the B-29 support team, you will personally help in the preservation of this iconic piece of history.

"I lived in Roy, Utah from the age of 10 to the age of 20. And one of my favorite things to do throughout that time was visit the Hill Aerospace Museum. They also had a B-29 Superfortress that was so impressive to me as a young woman. I have a lot of fond memories of going to the aerospace museum in Roy, and I backed this Kickstarter in hopes that my small donation can help another child form happy memories of giant planes. Thank you for restoring this beautiful machine. I wish you all the best and am proud to have contributed to this project!" - Jessie Moore, Project Backer

Local News Story on Restoration (click to view)
Local News Story on Restoration (click to view)

The Aircraft

B-29 Superfortress' served as long-range, propeller-driven heavy bombers that carried crews of 10-14 and were flown toward the end of World War II and during the Korean War. Built by Boeing - with a width of 141 feet and 3 inches, length of 99 feet and height of 29 feet and 7 inches - it was one of the largest aircraft to have seen service during WWII. At 70,000 pounds, and 135,000 pounds fully loaded, it was the heaviest production bomber built. It could cruise above 30,000 feet at 220mph, out of range of flak and most enemy fighters.  The B-29 had many innovations. It was the first production aircraft to have fully pressurized crew compartments. It also had a central fire-control system controlling remote-controlled machine gun turrets.

With its 3,250 mile range with a 20,000 lb bomb load, the B-29 was the first aircraft that could routinely bomb the Japanese homeland.  Using B-29s, massive conventional weapon airstrikes against Japan started in November of 1944, devastating Japan's war industries.  The war ended in August 1945, earning the B-29 the title of, "The bomber that won the war."  

The Museum’s historic B-29 actually never saw combat, as it was delivered to the Air Force just a few days before WWII ended. It was delivered on the very significant day of August 9, 1945, the same day the B-29 named the Bockscar dropped the plutonium bomb, Fat Man, on Nagasaki.

After a brief stay in storage, the Museum’s B-29 was assigned to the 509th Bombardment (Very Heavy) Group stationed in Roswell AAFB, New Mexico, in 1946. During the late 40s, the 509th was heavily involved in the post-war testing of nuclear weapons in the Pacific. After more modern bombers replaced B-29 aircraft, the Museum’s airplane became a part of a collection of historical aircraft on display at Chanute AFB in Illinois. The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History later acquired this particular aircraft in 1993.

Who We Are

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is the nation's only congressionally chartered museum in its field. The Museum is nationally accredited though the American Alliance of Museum and is also a member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers. The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History was established in 1969 as an intriguing place to learn the story of the Atomic Age, from early research of nuclear development through today’s peaceful uses of nuclear technology. The Museum strives to present, through permanent and changing exhibits and displays, the diverse applications of nuclear energy in the past, present and future along with the stories of the field’s pioneers.

This 30,000-sq-ft building and 9-acre outdoor exhibit area display artifacts from Geiger counters, historic medical devices and items from the Manhattan Project to vintage comic books, nostalgic toys and a B-29 Superfortress. The major interior exhibits include Nano, Pioneers of the Atom, Trinity and its Legacy, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War, Energy Encounter, Nuclear Medicine, Radiation 101 and more. The Museum also hosts Little Albert’s Lab, an area where young, inquisitive minds can explore hands-on science activities.

Heritage Park, the Museum’s 9-acre outdoor exhibit area, is one of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History’s most popular attractions. With its B-29 Superfortress, B-47 Stratojet, F-105D Thunderchief, B-52B Stratofortress, A-7 Corsair II and F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Museum’s collection is the largest aircraft collection for public viewing in the state of New Mexico.

The Museum’s mission is “to serve as America’s resource for nuclear history and science. The Museum presents exhibits and quality educational programs that convey the diversity of individuals and events that shape the historical and technical context of the nuclear age.” It is truly a place to learn, to imagine, to think and to draw your own conclusions.

View of the Museum and Heritage Park from the South
View of the Museum and Heritage Park from the South
Heritage Park Panorama
Heritage Park Panorama

What We've Done 

F-16 Fighting Falcon

The most current example of the Museum’s aircraft restoration work can be seen in last year’s project that involved rescuing a decaying F-16 Fighting Falcon. The aircraft once belonged to the ‘The TACOS’, the New Mexico Air National Guard 150th Fighter Wing. It was rescued from the Sandia National Laboratories Sled Trac and restored for static display. The restoration included restoring the TACO trim and tail insignia to acknowledge the 50+ year legacy and historical significance of the TACOS. The restoration even included lighting the aircraft's navigation, vertical tail illumination and landing lights.

F-16 early into the restoration
F-16 early into the restoration
F-16 Dedication Ceremony (Click for Video)
F-16 Dedication Ceremony (Click for Video)
                       

The TACOS were honored in the restoration of this airplane because of their legacy and contributions to our country. This division of the New Mexico Air National Guard has flown combat operations in Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia and Iraq and was mobilized and flew combat air patrol sorties throughout the United States following the attacks on September 11, 2011. The 150th Fighter Wing TACOS operated the F-16 from 1992 to 2003.

Restoration of this iconic aircraft was supervised by Restoration Project Coordinator Major Jerry Hanks, USMC (Retired), and was completed with the help of volunteers from Sandia National Laboratories, Kirtland Air Force Base, Museum volunteers and members of the CNM Aviation Maintenance Technology program and Service-Learning program.

All of the people and organizations listed above are returning this year for the restoration of the B-29.

USS James K. Polk Submarine Sail

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History successfully completed the restoration of the iconic USS James K. Polk SSN 645 nuclear submarine sail in the fall of 2014.

This truly historic object, measuring 30 feet high by nine feet wide and weighing 53 tons, was acquired by the Museum in 1999, and restoration began in the spring of 2014. Named after the 11th president of the United States, the USS James K. Polk was commissioned as SSBN 645 in 1966. The James K Polk was later converted into an attack submarine and re-designated SSN 645, making for an illustrious 33-year career.

James K. Polk Sub Sail during restoration
James K. Polk Sub Sail during restoration
James K. Polk Sub Sail after completion
James K. Polk Sub Sail after completion

Under the supervision of Fernando, retired Process Engineer from Intel, and with help from Museum staff, volunteers and various partners, the submarine exhibit was a hub of activity throughout the summer of 2014. The completed submarine sail is now on permanent display in the Museum’s Heritage Park.

The Excitement

"Best of luck with the restoration project for your B-29. My father, Robert D. Saucedo, was a tailgunner of the B-29 "Night Roamer" stationed in Guam. I had the privilege of being with him many years ago when the flying B-29 - is it Fifi? - flew into Albuquerque. My brother and I were fortunate enough to take my dad to Washington DC to see the WWII Memorial and the Enola Gay before he passed away a few months later. He was very proud of the role he played and I will always be proud of him and of all the people he flew with. I look forward to seeing the B-29 once the restorations have been finished!" -Steve Norris-Saucedo, Project Backer

"Our B-29 is such an incredibly important piece of military history. It represents the height of technology and American ingenuity in the early 1940s. It is thrilling to see visitors appreciating this iconic aircraft, as I've even seen a grandfather kneeling down with his granddaughter, pointing up at the plane, telling her of his memories of a simpler, yet dangerous time. Our B-29 is the Museum's oldest airplane, and it is truly rare to see, as so many were not preserved. This is a sacred cause to me, and I look forward to bringing it back to its former glory." - Jim Walther, Museum Director 

"This is history in the making...to restore one of the most profound and historic icons of the 'Greatest Generation' to its original and authentic glory." - Jerry Hanks, Heritage Park Restoration Project Coordinator

"The B-29 restoration project is a chance to honor all the people who contributed to the war effort. The B-29 led us out of WWII and into the Nuclear Age. I am proud to have even a tiny hand in this restoration project." - Tom St. Aubin, Museum and Restoration Volunteer

"We are embarking on a major restoration project for this grande dame, which will involve nearly every inch of her. She will get skin grafts to eliminate cancer (corrosion). She will be treated for parasites (bird nests and mice). She will get new glasses (cockpit windows), and a new make-up suite (paint). When we are finished, she will shine as she did in 1945, and we will be proud to display her as a rare and valuable jewel in this Museum's crown." - Gary Hoe, Museum Docent

Your Support/Our Gratitude

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History staff, board of trustees and volunteers all passionately believe in the mission of our Museum, and we know its past and future success depends on the generosity of our donors, volunteers and supporters.  Our heartfelt thanks go out to all of you.

Operation Preservation, The Campaign to Restore the Planes in Heritage Park is a massive undertaking, with the B-29 Superfortress being only the second of the five aircraft to be restored.  It would be impossible for the Museum to consider such a project without the confidence that generous donors will supply the bulk of the funding, and generous volunteers will supply the thousands of man-hours necessary to restore each aircraft. 

Thank you all.

Links

Videos

"FiFi" The World's Only Flying B-29 Bomber

History of the B-29 Superfortress

The Last Bomb (Click on "Give it a try" if you do not see video right away.)

How to Fly the Boeing B-29 Superfortress: B-29 Flight Procedure & Combat Crew Functioning

Boeing B-29 Superfortress Flight Engineer -1944

Pictures

Seattle PI: 70 years since first production Boeing B-29 Superfortress assembled

Air Force Historical Research Agency

National Museum of the Air Force

Wikimedia.org

Information and Articles

Service History of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History's B-29 Superfortress

Additional information of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History's B-29 Superfortress

PBS.org: The B-29: A Brief History

Boeing.com: Historical Snapshot

HistoryLink.org: Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bomber

Aircraft Review : Boeing B-29 Superfortress by Virtavia and Dawson Designs

The Rewards

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is a U.S. Internal Revenue Service recognized Sec. 501 (c)(3) Not-For-Profit Educational Organization.  Under such exemption your Kickstarter donation may be tax-deductible in accordance with current IRS guidelines. 

$1 Reward - Email of appreciation from Restoration Project Coordinator Major Jerry Hanks USMC (Ret), and Museum Director Jim Walther. Project updates through Kickstarter.

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$5 Reward - All of the $1 award, plus your name listed on the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History’s web site as a member of the B-29 Restoration Team.

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$10 Reward - All of the $5 reward, plus a signed B-29 45-21748 Restoration Team Member certificate emailed to you in PDF format, customized with your name.

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$25 Reward - All of the $10 reward, plus a B-29 Restoration Team pen, plus a high definition download of the the B-29 45-21748 restoration and history documentary video that will be created.  The documentary will be produced by Brad Stoddard of Stoddard Communications.  Note that for this and all higher reward levels, HD preview versions of the video will be made available as they are created.

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$50 reward - All of the $25 reward, plus B-29 45-21748 Restoration Team Member tote bag.  Note that the color of the tote may not be the same as shown.

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$75 Reward - All of the $25 reward, plus a DVD of the the B-29 45-21748 restoration and history. Note that for all DVD rewards, HD preview versions of the documentary video will be made available for download as they are created.

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$100 Reward - All the $75 reward, plus your name listed at the end of the video in a special thank you section of the credits.

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$100 Reward - All the $75 reward, plus two free passes to the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History and a VIP guided tour of the exterior of the B-29 Superfortress and F-16 Fighting Falcon. (Note: The F-16 does not appear in the official reward description because we forgot to list it, and once one person takes the reward the description cannot be edited.)

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 $250 Reward - All of the $25 reward, plus a National Museum of Nuclear Science & History hand-made Deneen Pottery coffee mug. Designed and manufactured in the U.S.A.

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$500 Reward - All the $25 reward, plus Flight Glasses engraved with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History logo on lens, your name engraved on one temple and B-29 45-21748 Restoration Team engraved on the other temple.

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$1,000 Reward - All of the $75 DVD reward, plus your name listed as an Executive Producer of the video.

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$2,500 Reward - All of the $25 reward, plus a framed photo of the B-29 45-21748

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$5,000 Reward - All of the $25 reward, plus a hand-made B-29 model that is hand-painted to match the restored B-29.

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$7,500 Reward - All of the $25 reward, plus the Cockpit Navy G-1 Antique Lamb Leather Jacket embroidered with B-29 45-21748 Restoration Team Member logo.

Version of this logo with the text "B-29 Restoration Team Member, National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, Albuquerque, NM" will be embroidered on the back.  More information coming soon.

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$10,000 Reward - All of the $25 reward, plus one bombardier seat ticket for a ride on Fifi, the last operational B-29 in the world. (This is a ticket for a ride in the best seat in the aircraft FiFi, the only flying B-29 in the world.  This bombardier's seat ticket was generously donated by a Museum volunteer specifically for this Kickstarter campaign. To redeem, go to the Commemorative Air Force web site at www.AirPowerTour.org to determine FiFi's schedule.  Then, meet Fifi and take the ride of your life.)

Additional Keywords: B29 WWII VEDay90 Warbirds

Risks and challenges

The largest risk to this project is in not having the aircraft sufficiently restored so that it can be dedicated on August 9, 2015. At a minimum, this means that the aircraft must be fully painted and the new windows put in place. For this to happen, the funding must be secured, the body work must be completed, the primer and paint applied, squadron and Air Force insignias painted and the windows purchased and installed.

Mitigation strategies that have been put in place include a schedule that includes time for unknowns such as weather and fluctuation in manpower. In addition, work to secure funds and manpower was started in mid 2014.

Overall, there is little risk that the project will not be completed. The restoration of the B-29 is the Museum's top priority in 2015, and the Museum has an excellent track record of completing aircraft projects. The largest, completed between 2009 and 2011, was the relocation of all aircraft and other Heritage Park exhibits from the Museum's first home, when it was located on Kirtland Air Force Base, to its current location. More recently, the Museum successfully completed the full restoration of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the USS James K. Polk SSN 645 nuclear submarine sail.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Thank You & Project Updates
    • Email of appreciation from Restoration Project Coordinator Major Jerry Hanks USMC (Ret), and Museum Director Jim Walther.
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    Nuclear Museum Mug
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    Flight Glasses
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    Hand Painted B-29 Model
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    • Hand-built B-29 model, hand-painted to match the restored B-29.

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    Ride on Fifi
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Funding period

- (31 days)