Current status of the "Kee Bird" B-29 Superfortress

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So In summary, It looks like the fuselage is still pretty burnt out, the tail seems to have blown over to the front somehow, or was moved by greenamyers team after the fire.
from the video It also Looks like the right hand engine mount (#3?) has been kind of damaged either from weather, or greenamyers team.

Any Idea if that Tractor pictured would still work if somebody was sent to give it a little TLC and Gas?
If the water truly is as shallow as you say it is, would it permit for easier recovery? 3 feet really? I'd hardly call that a Lake if even
I could definitely see someone attaching some cables or ropes to the wings and tail, then cutting all the control cables and hydraulics that may have somehow survived the fire. After that they could just using the tractor to pull it to dry land, where straps and supports can be added to airlift it out to Thule. I'm not really sure what would happen to Kee bird after getting to Thule? Where would she go after that? I mean its some 2000+ miles to the nearest northern states in the US, kind of curious what their plan would be if it had actually worked.

Surely she most likely will never fly again and will most likely sit in the northernmost pole of the planet, but I think with enough time and work if somebody wanted to they could restore her to static. (maybe)

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but I think with enough time and work if somebody wanted to they could restore her to static. (maybe)

I think there are less expensive and easier ways to get a Superfortress static display.
I'd think there are still various fuselage sections left over from China Lake as well as other projects.

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But all the right bits are there. You know, the ones that, were this a certain Supermarine product, would enable this wreck to be rebuilt - sorry, restored - from scratch.

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I think there are less expensive and easier ways to get a Superfortress static display.
I'd think there are still various fuselage sections left over from China Lake as well as other projects.

I'm not sure there is much left at China Lake of any serious restoration merit. I think the best Superfortress material was removed years ago, and spotters/collectors soured all relations with China Lake in terms of access to the site. There will be some seriously fragmented B29-like material there, but there might as well not be given the relations there!

Conversely you have B29s on display in the US that would benefit from restoration and rebuild work, hiding in plain sight. 44-27343 is on display in an erroneous all-white paint scheme, and is missing all turrets and blisters. 45-21748 and 44-87627 are both on outdoor display in sub-optimal condition; the former with a dull all-over grey scheme and the latter with corrosion and hurricane damage. They could do with the work, but for some reason people only ever talk about Kee Bird and The Lady of the Lake.

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https://www.facebook.com/KermitWeeks/photos/a.929460523789694.1073742475.271937182875368/929460563789690/?type=1&theater

"One day I hope to put one together as a flyer and I intend to use one as a static for an immersion environment"

The more I read about Mr Weeks, the more I get the impression that 'Fantasy' of Flight is an apt name for his museum. Yes, he does a of of good for the warbird community, and does restore and fly a lot of types, but he is also a serial hoarder, and there's no way he will ever get round to doing half the aircraft in his collection (Looking firmly at this B29, his Lancaster, and the Sunderland). Surely while he is complaining about struggling to make money at his exhibit, he would be better off reducing his collection, and using the funds to concentrate on things he can realistically get done.

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At least what he has is relatively safe from scrapping, saving it for future restorers, even if Kermit never gets around to them.

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I'm not sure there is much left at China Lake of any serious restoration merit.....There will be some seriously fragmented B29-like material there, but there might as well not be given the relations there!

Please note I said material from China Lake, not at China Lake.
Big difference. As others have noted, the parts and aircraft are scattered to many locations, but most of the came from China Lake at one time.

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Please note I said material from China Lake, not at China Lake.
Big difference. As others have noted, the parts and aircraft are scattered to many locations, but most of the came from China Lake at one time.

Ok! But to get back to your initial post, if you are looking for a 'less expensive and easier ways to get a Superfortress static display' then look no further than the basketcase statics I listed above. These airframes could potentially benefit from whatever is recoverable from Kee Bird, China Lake or wherever rather than try and recover a popularly discussed but difficult-to-recover wreck and get it back to display condition.

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I don't disagree, as in the UK, many large airframe on outdoor display could use some work. I don't see the viability of spending a lot of money to bring back Kee Bird parts (unless there is something very rare remaining in Greenland).

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Darryl Greenamyer's hopes and dreams, buried deep beneath the ice? :highly_amused:

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There's also a B50 at Chino...

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Conversely you have B29s on display in the US that would benefit from restoration and rebuild work, hiding in plain sight. 44-27343 is on display in an erroneous all-white paint scheme, and is missing all turrets and blisters. 45-21748 and 44-87627 are both on outdoor display in sub-optimal condition; the former with a dull all-over grey scheme and the latter with corrosion and hurricane damage. They could do with the work, but for some reason people only ever talk about Kee Bird and The Lady of the Lake.

This times a billion, I honestly think it's the mystique or the history of those aircraft that lure people toward them. Same thing with the B-24 in Atka or Swamp ghost

I've heard talks of wanting to get someone to drain the lake, so there might be some hope left for that one, but even still where would you put it?

I'm just suprised how few of them exist internationally, you'd think Japan would want one after pretty much everything that happened in the Pacific.

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It does look like two disassembled B-29s are at the Aero Trader yard, internet sources very on ownership between Aero trader and Kermit, but I recall one being for sale as a project a few years ago. Large bits mostly there, but basically a shell. Major $$$.

I do agree that there are much better ways than recovering Kee-Bird leftovers into a B-29 project, but none would have the allure of Kee-Bird, or even the Lady of the Lake, so I agree with Astro above. Either of those would make a better story than a hull that had no history, or a composite hull from various sources. Much like the Glacier Girl P-38, sure there would be much cheaper and easier ways to get a P-38 flyer, but they do not have the same mystique or story. That is why I think we see so much talk about Kee-Bird, Swamp Ghost etc.

I disagree that Japan would have a strong desire for a B-29 display.

As for Kermit, I am firmly in his money, his idea camp. He seems to be in it for the long run, and we all have favorites of his we would love to see restored, but I firmly salute him for what he has done, even if I would prefer something else. I personally enjoy a no-frills museum or even a dark, dank musty hanger over a place with simulator rides, bells and whistles etc. - I do not want an "experience" but recognize enthusiasts are a small % of the populace and our small entry fee will not cover multi-million dollar projects.

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Surely the story of these machines is in the telling? You could spin the Kee Bird story as a tragic case of hubris. Conversely at least one of the lesser static examples I cited previously was saved from the Aberdeen proving grounds, and therefore have a survivor spin as well. The issue is that nobody cares about those, whereas there is a 'just out of reach' element to Kee Bird and the Lady of the Lake machines in the same way that Maid of the Harlech warrants repeated clamouring. There was a P38 wreck you could literally walk into the middle of but do nothing about! Far more alluring than a badly restored 'bird on a stick' somewhere.

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Doesn't the fusealge of an ex-RAF Washington survive, without wings. There you have a worthwhile project. Would love to see one of those in the RAFM collection.

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Hi All,
I think the trouble is a lot of museums want this that and the other airframe but when given them a lot do end up just waiting their turn for restoration all the time deteriorating because of the lack of funds to preserve that airframe never mind building to do this in before being evicted or similar.

As for Mr Weeks I think he evolves his thinking continually trying to encourage more than just the aviation enthusiast to visit his venue. This is where a good chunk of his funds go that could other wise be spent on aircrafts restoration he has to find that happy medium between the two. I would say he is battling on several fronts to maintain interest in the museum and funding of his projects after all he is not a bottom less pit of money. IMO he picks the airframes he thinks are the most historic to aviation while at the same time making them as authentic to the original build as he can get and that takes time and containers full of money of which he has to invent new strategies of supplying for these restorations and purchases hence is investments in Books and Rum.

I suppose at the end of the day like everything else in life it all comes down to money and the will to get whatever done...;)

Geoff.

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I would say he is battling on several fronts to maintain interest in the museum and funding of his projects after all he is not a bottom less pit of money. IMO he picks the airframes he thinks are the most historic to aviation while at the same time making them as authentic to the original build as he can get and that takes time and containers full of money of which he has to invent new strategies of supplying for these restorations and purchases hence is investments in Books and Rum.

I suppose at the end of the day like everything else in life it all comes down to money and the will to get whatever done...;)

Geoff.

I would definitely agree with this, the fact that fertile myrtle was a NASA B-29 is huge would love to see it fly one day and hell if somebody was actually crazy enough build a working skyrocket to go with it.

As for the maid of harloch, I think I'd have to disagree on that one. yes it's technically a P-38 but I'd argue its not a P-38 anymore, it's more of an artificial reef. Glacier girl was at least in a cold preserving lifeless freshwater glacier, harloch touched down in a salty ocean.

Lady in the lake is stuck in a rainwater retention pond essentially. So it can just kinda chill there indefinitely with no real damage aside from algae growth, and the ocasional shot of buckshot

I think it would be cool if they could restore some of the X planes, I'm sure the EAA would absolutely love to have a couple. I don't think the X-15 would ever fly again though, going mach 1-2 is one thing, going mach 7 is a completely different game on an entirely different planet XD, one can dream though : )

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I'm just suprised how few of them exist internationally, you'd think Japan would want one after pretty much everything that happened in the Pacific.

Would that be with or without blinding flash of light Sir?

:D

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Doesn't the fusealge of an ex-RAF Washington survive, without wings. There you have a worthwhile project. Would love to see one of those in the RAFM collection.

Took me a little while but...do you mean WF444 at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah? http://www.demobbed.org.uk/aircraft.php?type=1180