B-29 ‘DOC’ Restoration Update

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Doc’s three remaining unmounted engines await their turn to join the bomber. (photo via Doc’s Friends)

This is just a brief report, but Warbirds News is pleased to note that the restoration team working in Wichita, Kansas on the Boeing B-29 Superfortress known as “Doc” is making a full-court press to get the aircraft ready for its first flight this summer, hopefully in June. As can be seen in the image above, all of the engines are nearly ready to install, with one already mounted on the port wing. This engine is presently in the process of having its exhaust system installed.

Of more complexity, the control surface rigging for the rudder, ailerons and elevators is close to completion. Also the Flight Engineer’s station behind the cockpit is receiving a lot of attention with instrumentation and wiring coming together very well. We look forwards to brining you more news on this exciting project as soon as it becomes available.

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The control lines to the rudder, ailerons and elevators are nearly all installed. (photo via Doc’s Friends)
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A volunteer installs the wiring and instrumentation in the Flight Engineers station. (photo via Doc’s Friends)

For previous Warbirds News reports on “Doc”, please click HERE.

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23 Comments

    • Misty thanks for catching that, we were working on another B-17 article at the same time and the bombers got mixed up 🙂

  1. Are they using the same modification that the CAF did with their B-29 — replacing the normal B-29 engines with a later variant that were more reliable?

    • Hello Mike. In response to your posting the Wright Cyclones being installed on Doc are a hybrid of two different models, Yes they’re the same ones that the folks at CAF came up with. The problem with those originally installed on the B 29 during the war was of course overheating due to the exhaust plumbing for the front row of cylinders running over the front of the cylinder jug exterior in front of those nice cooling fins that were meant to dissipate heat. What happened next of course is that the cool external air entering through that big round opening at the face of the engine cowling was very hot by the time it reached the cooling fins thus starting the engine overheat problem. Later versions of the R-3350 addressed that problem (ah those clever engineers at Wright Areonautical) Anyway, back to FIFI and Doc’s powerplants. An article I read some time ago stated that the folks at CAF looked initially at the variant found on the A/C 119 gunship. These produced considerable more power and had greater longevity. A problem arose however as due to the large turbo charger section on those engines they could not be squeezed into FIFI’s engine nacelles. After some more thought and research the solution came by combining the gunship engines with the turbo section from the -26 variant used on the Douglas Skyraider of Viet Nam fame. Once the bugs were worked out a different exhaust system designed and fabricated the engines were installed. The upside is that there was a net gain of 250 horsepower per engine with of course an aggragate total gain of 1,000 hp. The new engines ran cooler and the TBO (Time Between Overhauls) was increased. Longer lasting motors. The piloting flying FIFI after the new engines were installed was quoted as saying that FIFI performed more like a big fighter than a four engine heavy bomber. Necessity once again the mother of invention and in this case great improvement. 😉

  2. I have read that “FiFi” won’t be attending AirVenture 2014 due to existing schedule commitments. Any idea if the CAF and Doc’s Friends are coordinating to get the aircraft together this year?

  3. It’s TRUELY amazing what you are doing. It will so awesome to see another part of history preserved for future generations and to honor our remaining veterans.

    • So incredibly awesome that the engine run up happened on the anniversary of the U.S.A.F!!!! Can’t wait to see this incredible bird back in the air where it belongs! THANK YOU for bringing back history!

  4. I’m an old B29 pilot from cold war days flying in SAC. I worked on Doc a couple of weeks several years back and am a member of Doc’s Friends. They stopped updating our web site early this year. Do you know why and where I can get current info?

  5. AS AN OLD [95] B29 F.E. OUT OF GUAM 1945…..WHAT ENGINES ARE BEING INSTALLED…….THE WRIGHT 3350 OR THE PRAT 4360. WHATEVER, GOD BLESS YOU ALL FOR GIVINE LIFE TO THIS OLD BIRD. PLEASE KEEP US POSTED.

    • It is a hybrid R-3350 engine they are using, much like those on Fifi. The 4360s would have been appropriate for a B-50, but not a B-29. Interesting to know you worked on both, Norman. We’d love to hear more!

  6. We had 3 or 4 of them at Offutt AFB in Nebraska. I stood plane guard many hours. They are real neat inside on a cold day in Mebraska.

    • Hi Paul, TJ here, how are you? It’s been a while. I’ve been involved with Doc since 2005. I am currently the Flt Ops Director and Chief of Maint. I think I owe you a tour!
      TJ

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