B-29 Superfortress ‘Doc’ – Rollout Today!!!

All four engines and props installed on "Doc" during 2014. (Image by Steve Janz via Docs Friends)
All four engines and props installed on "Doc" during 2014. (Image by Steve Janz via Docs Friends)
All four engines and props installed on “Doc” back in 2014 – The rollout will happen this morning, exactly seventy days after her initial rollout during WWII. (Image by Steve Janz via Docs Friends)

We at WarbirdsNews have been following the restoration progress of the B-29 Superfortress known as ‘Doc’ for some years now. We have provided updates on her restoration as often as possible, but now we are excited to announce the grand lady will be officially rolled out for her public debut this morning in Wichita, Kansas. We have known this for a couple of weeks now, and it has been hard sitting on this big news, but it was embargoed until this morning… something we respected with our silence as requested.

The rollout will take place this morning outside her restoration hangar, exactly seventy years to the day since the US Army Air Forces initially accepted ‘Doc’ from The Boeing Company. This will be a private, invitation only event for volunteers, donors, sponsors and the media. We expect to have photographs of the event later today.

The ceremony will proceed as follows…

11:00 a.m. Lunch/Speakers
12:20 p.m. Rollout
12:30 p.m. Interviews/Photos Alongside Doc

The speakers will include the following…

Larry Lawson, President & CEO, Spirit AeroSystems
Col. James Dermer, Vice Wing Commander, 22d Air Refueling Wing, McConnell AFB
Col. Jeffrey Jordan, Commander, Intelligence Wing, McConnell AFB
Tony Mazzolini
Jeff Turner, Chairman, Doc’s Friends

Video of the Rollout.

As the press release reports…

After thousands of hours of volunteer work, it’s time to celebrate a historic milestone and rollout of B-29 Doc. On track to fly later this year, Doc will be one of only two restored B-29s in flying condition. Part of a squadron of eight planes named for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Doc was originally built in 1944 and was delivered to the Army Air Forces from Boeing Wichita’s Plant II, now home to Spirit AeroSystems. In preparation to its first flight, Spirit President and CEO, Larry Lawson, will ceremonially “deliver” Doc once again to representatives of the U.S. Air Force.

Background

Tony Mazzolini and others found and rescued Doc from the California desert in 1987, where it was being used for military target practice. Restoration began in California and resumed when the plane returned to Wichita in 2000. Doc’s Friends, a group of Wichita business leaders and aviation enthusiasts, was formed in 2013 to help carry out Mazzolini’s dream of transforming Doc into a flying museum.

About Doc’s Friends

Doc’s Friends is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation managing the restoration of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress known as “Doc”. The group was formed in 2013 and is led by retired Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner along with other Wichita business leaders. Doc’s Friends is committed to returning this World War II warbird to the air to honor previous generations, educate current and future generations, and connect the world to the rich heritage of aviation. For more information about Doc’s Friends or to follow Doc’s progress, visit http://www.b-29Doc.com. Doc’s Friends can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.

9:44:Pm ET -Latest article with photos and official video, click HERE

33 Comments

  1. If you are ever near plymouth, mass. please let me know. I am retired but have my a&p ticket and would love to help in any way I can. My father completed 35 missions as a navigator on the “City of Austin” (B-29) out of Guam. Thankyou for all your dedicated and hard work. Jeff

    • Did you ever have the opportunity to meet the Pilot of the City of Austin? I believe he is alive and living in SW Minnesota and is planning to attend an event involving that plane in Austin TX this spring 2016

  2. Congrates are in order. The list of all those who made today possible. Fron the engineers at Boeing in the 40’s, the factory workers, the flight crews, and maintainance crews who loved and cared for Doc before. Then she sat forgotten about. Alone at China Lake, then a group with a vision that became a action plan. Now she will return to the skies to do what a aircraft was meant to do, FLY. Sadly many who were at the beginning of this long line of people are no longer her. When Doc returns to the skies she will not be alone. Fly high and proud.

  3. I’ve watched Doc since it was trailered in. It’s awesome to see it’s rolling out. Wish Boeing was still out there so I could view this prestigious event. Congrats to ALL that helped this project out.

  4. I was honored to have toured DOC in 2013.I sat in the co-pilot seat and somehow, banged my head on something hard and sharp.I bled and was proud of that divot in my head. What a great day that was.

  5. Congratulations! Have been following your re-building process .
    I am 91 years if age but have been fortunate to have a computer to keep
    much history of the B-17 and the B-29.
    Hope to see Doc at Oshkosh in July.
    I have been trained on the CFC control as a crew member in 1945.
    Best of luck! Richard King

    • Thank you for your service, Mr. King. I hope you get to see the finished product in person. These planes have a wonderful history to be shared with everyone.

  6. I have been following “FIFI” with the C.A.F. Hope to keep up with “Doc”. I would like information on public viewing of Doc. I only live an hour away form Wichita. Thank you to everyone who made the dream of making history come alive for future generations to see.

  7. I wish my grandpa could have been there! I’ve been trying to get the info on it for him. He was the flight engineer on Doc when it was in the air force! It would have been great for him to see it, but no one has replied to my requests about information.

    • Dear Michael, Please get in touch. I flew on “Doc” from 1952 until 1955 and I knew the flight engineers who flew with me. I even have pictures I can share with you. I was the editor of a squadron book and I had another squadron member who was a photographer to get everyone’s pictures. What is your Grandfathers name. Anxiously awaiting to hear from you. Bob

      • Hi Bob. My uncle John Smego was a mechanic on Doc some time during the Korean war.
        Just curious if you may have any information on him.
        He has been gone almost 10 years and he would have loved to see her again.

  8. this is just great…..another birds ready to fly again…..now we have 2 in the world….fifi…and doc…….great day for the usa///////

  9. Randolph Field/ Combat Crew Training 1950-1952. Flight engineer Instructor. Starting those 2200hp engines with 16 ft props was always a blast!!

  10. CONGRATULATIONS! To all the many volunteers and others who have worked so hard to get Doc in the air again. My dad, Owen Hughes painted the nose art, Doc on this plane. He really wants to be there for Doc’s first flight and to get to ride in it soon thereafter!

    I see Michael’s comment above about his grandfather. I hope he and my dad can both be there. Hope to see you all there!!! Thanks for all your work and dedication, Sue Scruggs

  11. My high school classmate Shirley (mrs. Jesse) Young was a long time volunteer on this project. Thanks Shirley. Proud of you.

  12. My Dad was an AC in the 40th Squadron of 6th Bomb Group which flew the B-29’s off Tinian. It is a beautiful and shiny plane. Thanks to all who worked on it!!

  13. I went thru A&P school at Sheppard AFB Tx on B-29’s but only worked on one after that in the AF. Worked on Fertle Myrtle some here in No Calif years ago, and flew on it once and got to fly as pilot and log the 30 min time.
    I was in China lake recovering Miss America 62 (now at Travis AFB CA) when Doc was pulled out of CL. I was supposed to be helping on the crew that was recovering KeeBird off Greenland but missed that project due to a sick spouse. What a shame there. Be great if Kermit can get Fertile Myrtle flying soon too. Also worked at Air & Space in Wash DC for 6 years on Enola Gay and helped put her on display. Met Dutch and Col Tibbets a few times.

  14. A beautiful airplane. Congrats to all who worked on it – a good job well done. I was radar navigator on the Wendell Hutchison crew, 1st Sq, 9th Gp, McCook and Tinian. Airplane was The BA Bird. Only two of us left, Frank Cappozzo, Radio and myself. I’m thrilled to see Doc as such a beautiful airplane.

    • Thanks so much for writing in Ken Nicoles… and thank you so much for your sacrifices in WWII. We would love to hear more of your story if you feel you can share it.

  15. What a thrill! I was born in 1930. WWII was the event that defined my vision of history. The B29 and the P51 were the most beautiful of airplanes. I spent my adolescent years building balsa wood model planes. What a treat to see this beautiful work of art come to life again. Thanks to all who had a part in the project.
    n.v.f.

  16. Great news!! I was in the USAF 1951 to1955. I was stationed at Griffiss AFB in Rome NY from’52 to’55. I flew as scanner on “Doc” many times as we set up the DEW line and were used to do experiments such as testing how long a B-29 could fly without refueling. Many years later I learned from the history channel that in 1960, they used the B-29 to fly over the pole to test the efficiency of the Russian Radar. Not only did I fly on “DOC” but it was my idea to paint Snow White , each of the Seven Dwarfs and the Wicked Witch on the nose of each of our 9 planes. Thank you Tony Mazzolini for letting me play a small part in the Restoration of “DOC”. I am proud that the book I was asked to produce by the Squadron commander , Maj. Domenico A. Curto was reproduced by Boeing and will be a part of “Doc’s” history for many years to come. If there are any former crew members of mine or squadron personnel who may read this, please get in touch with me.

    • Many thanks for writing in! It sounds like you performed some fascinating work, and I’m sure we’d all love to hear more!

  17. I landed on Tinian in a Piper Navajo ferrying it from Saipan to Fiji. Nothing but brush poking up through the coral tarmac but I could visualize stacks of B-29’s and the Enola Gay. Thank everyone for preserving history, all the younger generation need to know what this country went through. Seeing Doc return is educational and exciting…THANK YOU !!!

  18. Really hope to see it at Oshkosh 2015. It would be unbelievable to have FiFi and Doc there. Such a beautiful aircraft and a big part of history.

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