Squaring up history: the journey of a Boeing Superfortress


In the days of WWII, technology meant triumph. In 1944, the aircraft that would help end the war took flight: the Boeing B-29.

On Wed. 6 April, the B-29 owned by the Museum Of Flight named T-Square 54 was finally uncovered for the last time inside the Aviation Pavilion.

The aircraft has a long history that Dale Thompson, the Restoration Crew Chief of the MoF, put into perspective.

“The plane was found in the desert and it was decided that it should be moved closer to Seattle,” said Thompson. “It was moved up in the late 90s’ when it was taken apart and trucked up to the area.”

One of the first things people notice about the aircraft is its lack of wings because, before reaching its current state, it was broken into many more pieces.

“Originally the plane’s wings were taken off, the vertical and horizontal stabilizers were taken off,” said Thompson. “The fuselage was broken into three separate pieces, that was the only way to get it up here.”

To make T-Square 54 shine once again, a major restoration effort that, is still under way, began in an effort to get the plane to look just as it once did.

“The whole restoration process has been done completely by volunteers,” said Thompson. “It was a long process because the plane was virtually stripped of everything in it. We basically started with just the bare aluminum shell.”

For the the restoration team, perfection is in the details. From nose to tail, the iconic aircraft receives the very best attention as the team adds pieces to the aircraft.

“We have taken the original Boeing drawings and basically started from there,” said Thompson. “We have been working on sheet metal, replacing all new windows in it, all flight control cables were replaced, and all of the lighting has been put back in it.”

The Museum’s mission is still far from complete, but the vision and end goal remain in sight for the aircraft and the team.

“Our goal is to put in as much as we can, internal and external, back into the aircraft,” said Thompson, “making it look like it’s ready to take off on a mission.”

For quite some time, the B-29 has taken on a ghostly appearance. The aircraft has been wrapped in plastic while on the other side of the road from RAHS.

“We did not want any water getting up on the cotton liner inside the plane because it would immediately deteriorate,” said Thompson. “So it had to be wrapped in plastic for four and a half years.”

Now T-Square 54 has a permanent home where the next generation can look into its history, learning about the great construction that it and its crews contributed to the United States during one of the harshest times in history. The T-Square 54 is notable for generating a legacy of honor for the bravest of many.

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