“They wanted to get it ready for the dedication of the plane on the 31st of May, 2003. So that period between 2000-2003 they probably had as many as 75 or 80 volunteers working on it. They’d drawn them off other projects because they said ‘we want to get this ready,’ and they dedicated it on the date that I said there.”
- Dave Amidon, Restoration Crew Chief
The Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" was a World War II and Cold War era heavy bomber. Technologically advanced for its time, the aircraft featured a pressurized cabin and remote control machine gun turrets. Boeing first flew the B-29 in September of 1942. After producing nearly 4,000 aircraft during the war, production ended in 1946, though the aircraft continued to be used by the military during the Cold War. The most famous B-29 is the "Enola Gay," which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in August of 1945.
In 1973 the Bradley Air Museum acquired the B-29 from Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. Groups of volunteers traveled to Aberdeen to bring the aircraft back to Connecticut in parts to be reassembled. A different fuselage was acquired after the one the museum had was found to be heavily damaged. The B-29 suffered damage in the tornado in 1979, and sat for many years awaiting restoration. In 1993, after Lt. Donald Lundberg of the 58th Bomb Group noticed the B-29, he pushed to have it restored to honor the 58th. In 1998, restoration of the plane began in earnest to meet the deadline of dedication on May 31, 2003. The plane was restored outside as well as in the museum's Restoration Hangar until its completion four weeks before the dedication. Nearly 100 volunteers worked on the B-29, which was interpreted to be "Jack's Hack," a B-29 that flew with the 58th Bomb Wing. After the dedication, restoration work continued until 2010. Today, "Jack's Hack" allows NEAM to tell the story of the 58th Bomb Wing and those who flew these impressive aircraft all those years ago.