Monday, July 15, 2013

The Kee Bird

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Although some 4,000 B29s were built, they were all destroyed/scraped but a handful.  There is now only one flying B29 in existence, and precious few that exist at all.  This made the fabled, "Kee Bird" B29 that had to emergency land in the harsh, abominable middle-of-no-where Greenland, all the more desirable.  Thus, it attracted the elite of the flying world, who attempted to save it:

The Kee Bird, pre-1994/95 Rescue Attempt

I watched the Nova documentary on this attempted rescue/restoration of The Kee Bird B29 years ago.  It was one of the most tragic and haunting documentaries in my memory.  I revisit the status of this plane every so often to see if there are any new attempts at getting it, but it appears the answer is: no.

Spoiler alert!!!

A mechanic died during the 2 trips that spanned 1994/95 rescue attempt of a blod clot, and after millions were spent in 4 new engines and other parts installed, an entire specialized crew being sent to the site along with a bulldozer, the plane largely burned-up due to the simple over-sight of not checking a jury-rigged fuel system in the rear.  This caused a fire upon taxing that marked the end of, "The Kee Bird."

I can't but help to find synchronicity in the drama and tragedy of both the plane that dropped the 1st atomic weapon in human history, forever changing the world, and the tragedy that is the rescue attempt of The Kee Bird.

Here are two 2009 discussion threads on the plane along with 'recent' pictures.

Recent articles even as of May, 2013, claim that it has sunk the bottom of the lake, but not knowing about the lake, I believe this only means a few feet of water, and the plane has remained largely above the lake, with the landing gear submerged and the lower part of the fuselage.

A picture (seen below) was snapped in 2011 of the B29 wreckage by the crew of a P-3 during "Operation Icebridge".

Here is a tinyurl link to the GPS coordinates to the Kee Bird, near Petermann Glacier, Greenland.

Just enable photos and it will show a thumbnail of the Kee Bird's location.  The picture is pre-1994/95 restoration and disaster.

I do love wise and witty quotes, of which, I came across this one from the forum links above:

"There are more planes at the bottom of the ocean than there are submarines at the top of the sky." --Old Naval Aviator

A picture snapped in 2011 of the B29 wreckage by the crew of a P-3 during "Operation Icebridge."
The half-fuselage is seen covered in snow, still atop the surface of the lake.

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