Doc’s First Engine Runs for 2016 – First Flight Imminent

A screen shot of video showing the Doc's recent engine runs following the winter layoff. (photo via Doc's Friends)
A screen shot of video showing the Doc's recent engine runs following the winter layoff. (photo via Doc's Friends)
A screen shot of video showing the Doc’s recent engine runs following the winter layoff. (photo via Doc’s Friends)

Following a hiatus over the winter, due to the cold temperatures, the B-29 known throughout the world as ‘Doc’ ran her engines again for the first time in 2016. The last few weeks have seen a flurry of activity on the vintage bomber in Wichita, Kansas as her restoration team prepares for her first flight. One of the final restoration requirements has been to replace all of the aircraft’s tires with brand new examples, as the previous set had been on Doc for fifteen years and was no longer considered airworthy.

A close up of Doc showing the reflection of a running engine on her shiny fuselage. (photo via Doc's Friends)
A close up of Doc showing the reflection of a running engine on her shiny fuselage. (photo via Doc’s Friends)

Much of the effort has been directed towards demonstrating to the FAA that all of the bomber’s systems and her configuration comply with regulations. This has included a comprehensive review of the aircraft’s paperwork, which has been meticulously recorded over the last sixteen years of the bomber’s resurrection. As they say in the warbird world, an aircraft is only ready to fly once its weight has been equalled by the paperwork supporting the restoration … which is saying a lot for a massive beast like the B-29! We are getting very close to that point now. The recent engine run was to blow out the cobwebs, so to speak, and to make sure that there are no surprises when they get to repeat the process with FAA inspectors on hand sometime soon. This will probably be the final hurdle before the FAA signs off on the project, allowing the Super Fortress to make her first flight in more than half a century. Prior to that flight, of course, the B-29 will have to receive formal clearance from the Defense Department to permit the bomber to use the longer, non-joint-use runway at McConnell AFB to conduct the test flight program. Doc’s Friends, the organization supporting the restoration, will announce a date for the formal first flight as soon as they have a clear idea of when it can take place. The public will be encouraged to attend, and we will be sure to let our readers know as soon as we receive the details. There will undoubtedly be a comprehensive record of this momentous occasion once it arrives though, and we will endeavor to share as much of it as we can when that moment arrives. In the meantime, here is a short video provided via Doc’s Friends showing the recent engine run!

4 Comments

  1. What an accomplishment the first flight will be, this is history in the making.
    All those volunteers giving their all, bringing this piece of history back to life is truly something to behold. Each and every person who worked on this project is deserving of recognition way beyond a thank you!

  2. My Dear and closest friend now deceased was
    qualified as a mechanic navigator and pilot on B29s and served in the Pacific during WWII I wish Bob had been alive today as he would have loved to see “DOC” and help out anyway he could. Bob belonged to the 39th Bomb Group.
    He also had his own business and was in the Massachusetts Civil Air Patrol
    and flew for many years after the war.

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