A not so hidden agenda

airshow, aviation, aviation history, Flying Is Fun, politics

Congressman Michael Turner from Ohio has proposed an amendment to the House National Defense Authorization Act that would bar the Department of Defense in the US from loaning or gifting any US military aircraft or parts if they would be used in flight operations.  Any gifts or loans would only be allowed for static displays in museums.

What would this mean?  Aircraft like “FiFi” , the only flyable B-29 Superfortress shown above in the skies over Florida last month, would be grounded.  Forever.  Flown and maintained by the Commemorative Air Force, FiFi and pieces of flying history like her would never be enjoyed by the public in their natural habitat again.  Instead they would be hanger queens.  The CAF has launched a campaign to bring this to the public’s attention to raise objections to the amendment.

Representative Turner is a former mayor of Dayton Ohio which just happens to house the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  FiFi would make a wonderful exhibit.

Apparently, Representative Turner doesn’t want children given the opportunity to be inspired by the only flying example of the aircraft that ended World War II,” said CAF President/CEO Stephan Brown. “The Queen of the CAF Fleet and the world’s only flying B-29, FIFI is possessed by the CAF as a ‘Conditional Donation’ from the NMUSAF. This means that the airplane is permanently ours as long as we meet certain conditions of care for the airplane. We also have a subsequent agreement to allow the CAF to conduct flight operations with FIFI – and so we have for nearly 40 years. The only way the NMUSAF could ground FIFI is if the law were changed such that it make it illegal to fly her and Representative Turner hopes to change the law to do just that!

From across the border this looks like a pretty blatant attempt by a lawmaker to protect a major constituent by denying thousands of airshow enthusiasts the opportunity to see history on the wing.