For the first time since 1956, B-29 Doc roared into the sky celebrating a successful first flight Sunday, July 17.
The first flight lasted about seven minutes, the crew reported an overall successful flight. Doc took off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, and returned to the same runway. In the coming days, the ground and restoration team will review all of the flight data and gauge readings, and they will also perform a full check and inspection of the plane’s systems and control surfaces.
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.
“The biggest thing is how important this airplane is to history,” said Jeff Turner, board chairman for Doc’s Friends. “The light of freedom was growing dimmer (during World War II), and the men and women of our nation rose up and secured our freedom. I don’t want us to ever forget that.”
Tony Mazzolini discovered Doc on a bombing range in the Mojave Desert in 1987. He traveled from his home in Cleveland for the ceremony. Mazzolini said that he originally figured the restoration would take three or four years. “I’ve been involved with this for about 30 years,” Mazzolini said. “It has been much more difficult than I originally thought, but it’s all been worth it. I wanted to help preserve our aviation history in America, and I wanted to keep the memories of that time period alive.”
Below you’ll find a highlight video from first flight, including exclusive footage from the runway and inside the cockpit during the flight.