B-29 Superfortress Brought Back to Flight!

A B-29 Superfortress which has seen service in both World War II and the Korean War is to be given renewed flight capabilities. Currently being prepped to take to the skies once more, the plane is one of the last of its kind, with only one other remaining. Referred to as Doc (after one of Disney’s seven dwarfs), the B-29 Superfortress has been repaired over a period of over a decade, and repairs are finally close to completion.

Repairs are underway in the same city in which the plane was built. Wichita is known as the “Air Capital of the World” due to its part in the foundation of companies such as Cessna and Beechcraft in the early 1900s. It was also the site where numerous bombers were created for the Second World War, including the B-29 Superfortress. After Doc and several other planes had just about run their course in terms of usefulness, they were taken to the Mojave Desert. There, other bombers and fighter planes used them to practice their bombing runs. Luckily, Doc was not destroyed in the process, and is now almost completely repaired.

After hundreds of thousands of man-hours, the volunteers doing the repair work are excited to see Doc back in the air. As part of a group called Doc’s Friends, they approached the Navy about buying the B-29 Superfortress years ago. The work has not been easy, since they have had to create unique parts due to a lack of similar planes to use as salvage. Even documentation on how to build these parts was not obtainable from Boeing, the Fox News reports.

Those who are currently working on Doc are quite passionate about the work, especially because many of them have a personal attachment to the Second World War. Many of the men repairing the B-29 Superfortress had families who fought in the war, while many others fought in the war themselves. Some of them do not fit into either of these categories, but still had family members who worked in the munitions plants and helped on similar projects.

Repairing the B-29 Superfortress has taken a great deal of time and effort, but it is nearly at an end. It is uncertain what the next step will be for Doc and Doc’s Friends once the job is finished. Currently, there is not even a space for permanent storage of the aircraft. They are hoping to rectify this situation once the B-29 Superfortress is confirmed to have regained its former airborne capabilities.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE