Hundreds of people showed up early when the hangar doors opened at 10 a.m. so the public could see “Doc,” Wichita’s favorite B-29 bomber.
Hours later, the line of people wanting to get next to the plane was still in the hundreds.
David Wise and his son, Brian, sat off to the side, satisfied with just a look.
“I love airplanes,” David said. “But not enough to stand in line for two hours.”
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His family history is wrapped up with Doc, and planes like it, he said.
August and Hattie Wolf, his maternal grandparents, worked on B-29s in Wichita during World War II. August fitted plexiglass windows; Hattie built wiring harnesses for the bombers.
“The jobs they got here in Wichita got them out of the Depression,” David said.
Many families could tell similar stories.
Doc, restored to flying in recent years, was one of 1,644 B-29 Superfortresses built at the Boeing factory in Wichita. The jobs, for thousands of people, jump-started the Wichita economy and drew workers from all over Kansas – and from Pea Ridge, Ark., where David’s grandparents lived in poverty until 1943.
Those jobs, and the growth of aviation in Wichita, just kept going after the war for many families, which is probably why so many people showed up on Saturday to stand for hours at Air Capital Flight Line to stare at a giant, stationary airplane.