A group named “Doc’s Friends” has recently taken ownership of the 25-year project to restore a Boeing Superfortress bomber. The organization takes its name from the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs character, whose countenance features prominently on the nose of the aircraft. Jeff Turner, former Boeing commercial exec and CEO of Spirit AeroSystems Inc., heads it up.
Tony Mazzolini, a 78 year old local, has invested a lot of effort into the B-29. He was instrumental in rescuing the bomber from the scrapyard, and will remain involved in the restoration. Mazzolini welcomes the change: “I’ve made a lot of personal sacrifices in terms of time and resources and I just can’t do it anymore. I’m getting down to the final end of my runway, so to speak.”
Mazzolini pegs the running total of volunteer hours at 200,000. The change-up should revitalize the project, providing new financial resources and a fresh drive. Without any setbacks, the restoration should be complete within a couple years’ time.
Although there are a few extant B-29s in major aerospace museums (the Enola Gay and Bockscar, for example), none of them are in flying condition. Only “FIFI”, owned by the CAF is flying and has been the only flyable B-29 for a few decades. This particular project will produce something unique, then. “Our plan is to fly it and tour the country as a flying museum,” adds Mazzolini. “It’s a remembrance. We just want to kind of keep the memory alive of the time period and that particular aircraft.”
You can keep tabs on their progress here