Many aviation enthusiasts around the U.S. have been interested in following the restoration progress of “Doc,” over the last few years.
That progress had been previously available to track online at http://b-29.com, however that website has been taken off the Internet by the Boeing Company. The “Doc” website will be back on the Internet likely by the beginning of the second quarter of 2006 according to Forrest Gossett, Boeing spokesperson. He stated that the project would require extensive retooling.
A little background here: The restoration project began in Wichita in May 2000. The goal is to complete the renovation by the end of 2006, said United States Aviation Museum chief executive Tony Mazzolini, who acquired the plane in 1998.
The aircraft was built in Wichita in 1944 and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Forces in March 1945. By the end of World War II, the Boeing Wichita plant had built 1,644 B-29s, nearly 65 percent of the total produced during the war, and had earned five Army and Navy “E” awards for production efficiency. Patriotism and a sense of urgency fueled the efforts of wartime workers. At the height of production in 1944, 40,000 Boeing Wichita employees were rolling out four B-29s every day.
“Doc” was decommissioned in 1956 and flown to China Lake Naval Weapons Center in California to be used as a bombing target. The plane, nicknamed “Doc,” is the last B-29 bomber known to be capable of being restored to flying condition.
The B-29 was part of a squadron named for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. “Doc,” after sitting in the desert for over 42 years has a chance to fly again. It’s home is now a hanger in the Boeing Wichita plant facility where volunteers work to restore “Doc” to flight status.
The goal is to keep “Doc” in Wichita as part of our cultural and aviation history. This project needs volunteers to help rebuild various parts of the aircraft and donated funds to help restore critical components like engines and fuel cells. Wichita also has to raise funds to build a hanger so “Doc” can stay here. If “Doc” is restored and there is no hanger to store this B-29 Super Fortress, Wichita will again lose part of its rich aviation heritage and history.