He had his first airplane ride at 12, and from then on he was hooked on flying. Paul Tibbets flew 25 missions in B-17s, including the first American Flying Fortress raid against occupied Europe. But Tibbets gained his fame—and notoriety—on August 6, 1945. On that day, the Enola Gay lifted off North Field with Tibbets and his crew en route to Hiroshima. At 9:15 am the world’s first atomic bomb exploded, and the course of history was forever changed.