We Want You – To Help Keep History Flying Forever
This is your opportunity to be a part of history. Doc will be one of only two airworthy Superfortresses worldwide, and there are no known remaining B-29 airframes restorable to flying condition. Doc’s permanent home base will be Wichita, however, the aircraft will serve as a flying museum with a specific mission:
- Honor the men and women who sacrificed so much for the freedom of others – including those who designed, built, maintained and flew Doc during and after WWII.
- Educate today’s and future generations on the contributions made by the Greatest Generation during wartime.
- Connect people with their rich heritage and offer enthusiasts the thrill of experiencing a B-29 up close.
Doc Rises: The B-29 that Cheated Fate
After spending 42 years deteriorating in the western Mojave Desert at the U.S. Naval Weapons Testing Center, B-29 Doc was rescued in 1998 by Tony Mazzolini and his team of local volunteers. Despite initial roadblocks, Mazzolini’s passion and persistence are now paying off and will soon culminate in the form of a flying tribute to the Greatest Generation.
Since the year 2000, thousands of aircraft parts have been donated and refurbished in-kind, and more than 300,000 volunteer hours have been invested toward bringing Doc back from the brink of destruction.
Following its ceremonial rollout in March, Doc has entered its final stage and is expected to make its first flight in more than 60 years later this year.
Cleared for Takeoff – We Need You
Volunteers have been the backbone of this enormous restoration project, but now it’s going to take additional financial backing as well. Your contribution can literally write your name on the future of this glorious flying museum and help expedite the launch of Doc’s bold new mission. The estimates below demonstrate the magnitude of the resources required.
1. Crew-related expenses: $17,000
2. Fuel and oil: $70,000
3. Parts and equipment: $15,000
4. Insurance: $50,000
5. Legal expenses: $15,000
6. Maintenance expenses: $10,000
Apollo 13 Astronauts and Former SR-71 Pilot Speak to Importance of B-29 Doc Restoration at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center
More About "Doc"
The giant bomber was first assigned to a B-29 squadron ironically named after Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs. Arriving too late to fly bombing missions in the Second World War, Doc would serve as a radar trainer during the Korean War.
Doc lives today, having narrowly escaped destruction by friendly fire. Unlike many of its fellow B-29s languishing in warbird boneyards, Doc somehow escaped its fate as a practice target.
In 1987, a group led by Tony Mazzolini and backed by the United States Aviation Museum formed a plan to restore Doc, by then a very rare, mostly intact B-29. In 1998, Doc was finally rescued and subsequently delivered to Wichita in 2000.
In 2013, “Doc’s Friends,” the nonprofit, volunteer-powered organization was formed to complete the restoration. It is led by retired Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner, along with other Wichita business leaders.
Doc Restored: An Epic Effort Relived
In the days since Doc’s rescue, as in the urgent days of WWII, the energy of hundreds has again focused on getting the B-29 in the air. This time they’re volunteers. Dozens upon dozens, dedicating their time and energy to Doc and to the history of service and sacrifice the aircraft represents.
From mechanics, engineers, electricians and other technicians to those who have provided parts, equipment, tools and other services. Many volunteers have worked on parts and pieces of Doc at shops, in hangars and in their own garages scattered across the Wichita area.
Others have toured the nation, going to airshows and promoting the dream of getting Doc back into the sky. Some are descendants of WWII aircraft industry employees. One is a veteran B-29 pilot, and another has worked as a riveter on Doc just as she did on the original B-29s at the original Boeing plant.
Powered by modern hybrid versions of the original engines, Doc will be one of two flying B-29s in existence. Doc’s itinerary: flying into the hearts and minds of the next generations at airshows and events nationwide.
B-29: Forging the weapon to end the war
The fires of Pearl Harbor had barely been extinguished when the throttle on plans for a long-range heavy bomber was pushed to the wall. The B-29 Superfortress came to life on the drawing board in 1941. It would see action just three years later – an astounding time frame even in wartime – but only after a desperate last-minute race to overcome crippling engine problems and technical flaws.
Nearly 4,000 B-29s were produced. A relative handful were kept operational after WWII. They would serve in the Korean air war, then as the pre-B-52 Strategic Air Command workhorse, as a mother ship for the X-plane project, and into the 60s as the B-50 variant. The B-29 program cost more than the massive Manhattan Project atomic bomb development. The B-29’s part in ending the war was no less critical, bringing together the tireless labor of thousands of civilian workers and selfless courage of the U.S. Army Air Forces. A flying B-29 is a tribute to the men and women who preserved our freedom.
$10 Reward: Receive regular project updates, plus your name listed on the Doc’s Friends website as a member of the B-29 Kickstarter Supporters.
$25 Reward: Receive a first flight commemorative postcard print of B-29 Doc, plus your name listed on the Doc’s Friends website as a member of the B-29 Kickstarter Supporters.
$50 Reward: Receive a Doc’s Friends Auto Trunk Plate, plus your name listed on the Doc’s Friends website as a member of the B-29 Kickstarter Supporters.
$100 Reward: Receive a Doc’s Friends Diner Mug, plus your name listed on the Doc’s Friends website as a member of the B-29 Kickstarter Supporters.
$250 Reward: Receive a B-29 Docs Challenge Coin, plus your name listed on the Doc’s Friends website as a member of the B-29 Kickstarter Supporters.
$500 Reward: Receive a B-29 Doc Lapel Pin, plus your name listed on the Doc’s Friends website as a member of the B-29 Kickstarter Supporters.
$1,000 Reward: Receive a custom-made B-29 Doc Tin Sign, plus your name listed on the Doc’s Friends website as a member of the B-29 Kickstarter Supporters.
$5,000 Reward: Receive a beautiful hand-painted model of Doc, an exact replica of the B-29 Superfortress. Plus your name listed on the Doc’s Friends website as a member of the B-29 Kickstarter Supporters.
$10,000 Reward: Submit your or your loved one’s name to be inscribed on a commemorative plaque on board Doc. You’ll also receive a beautiful hand-painted model of Doc, an exact replica of the B-29 Superfortress. Plus your name listed on the Doc’s Friends website as a member of the B-29 Kickstarter Supporters.
Risks and challenges
Unlike many projects of this kind, the biggest challenge is no longer the restoration; but is funding the certification, maintenance and home base for this aircraft. As stated before, B-29 flight-testing and management is extremely expensive.
However, there is little risk that the project will not eventually be accomplished. Over the years, Doc has developed an extremely dedicated throng of volunteers and supporters that will see to it that Doc returns to the skies. But with your support sending Doc through this flight-test program, you can join us in making history and expediting the launch of Doc’s bold new mission.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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