Aviation

‘Doc’ caretakers hope to have permanent home for B-29 soon

“Doc,” the Wichita-built Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, is in a new, temporary hangar at Air Capital Flight Line while officials of the nonprofit organization that supports it, Doc’s Friends, work on raising money for a permanent hangar for the World War II-era airplane. (Feb. 6, 2017)
“Doc,” the Wichita-built Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, is in a new, temporary hangar at Air Capital Flight Line while officials of the nonprofit organization that supports it, Doc’s Friends, work on raising money for a permanent hangar for the World War II-era airplane. (Feb. 6, 2017) The Wichita Eagle

Doc's Friends spokesman Josh Wells talks about temporary quarters for the Boeing B-29 bomber known as Doc and plans for its permanent home. Photo of Connie Palacioz courtesy of Brett Schauf/Doc's Friends. (Jerry Siebenmark/The Wichita Eagle/Feb. 7

The nonprofit group that owns “Doc,” the restored Boeing B-29 bomber originally built in Wichita, hopes to have a permanent home for the historic warbird as early as 2018.

“It’s going to be an active hangar,” Doc’s Friends spokesman Josh Wells said of a permanent building, adding it’s where all of the World War II-era airplane’s maintenance will be done. And it will be “a place for people to come see Doc,” he said.

That means Doc won’t be at its current location at Air Capital Flight Line on South Oliver, which is secured by armed guards and fences topped with concertina wire. That’s because of its proximity to the McConnell Air Force Base flight line.

Doc’s permanent home will likely be at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport, which has the runways and public access that would allow people to see the airplane even when it isn’t flying.

“We know that it’s going to be somewhere out there,” Wells said.

He said he expects an announcement on a public fundraiser for Doc’s permanent home – and an exact location – to happen in the next couple of months. Wells added that private fundraising for the hangar is underway.

The group is also raising money for the hangar through sales of commemorative photos mounted on aluminum window cutouts from a Boeing 737 fuselage; they sell for $150 apiece. For more information on the photos, go to www.b-29doc.com. The window cutouts are provided by Spirit AeroSystems, which manufactures the 737 fuselage for Boeing.

Doc flew for the first time in 60 years last July, following a 16-year restoration effort in Wichita.

The B-29, restored over 16 years by volunteers in Wichita, made its second flight Saturday. An hourlong flight was cut short after a slight malfunction was discovered with the landing gear. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)

A view from inside the nose of the Boeing B-29 bomber "Doc" as it flies over Wichita for the first time in 60 years. (July 17, 2016) Footage courtesy of Doc’s Friends

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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