Aviation

B-29 Doc to begin touring after getting airworthiness certificate

The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded Doc’s Friends an airworthiness certificate for its B-29, allowing the historic bomber to begin touring the country.

The nonprofit group that restored the Wichita-built airplane said the certificate removes the airplane’s limitations on flight distance and pattern.

The airplane, which made its first flight last year, was previously operating under travel restrictions.

“We’ve been working for the past several months with the Wichita FAA office, along with the FAA team in Washington, D.C., and we are pleased that we have satisfied the requirements for ‘phase one’ of flight test operations,” Jim Murphy, Doc’s Friends restoration program manager, said in a news release Friday.

The group is finalizing plans to take the World War II-era airplane to a number of airshows in six states this year, including the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.

Doc’s Friends spokesman Josh Wells said Friday that the group also hopes to have an event in April allowing Wichitans to see the airplane first-hand. Details of that event are still being worked out, he said.

“We want Wichita to be … the first official tour stop,” Wells said.

After a nearly 16-year restoration effort, the Wichita-built Boeing B-29 made its first flight on July 17, 2016, from McConnell Air Force Base. Doc served in a squadron named Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from 1945 until 1956.

Tony Mazzolini, a former flight engineer, acquired the airplane from the Navy and brought it to Wichita in 2000 for restoration. It had been sitting for 31 years at the China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons range in California’s Mojave desert as a bombing target.

In 2013, Doc’s Friends acquired the airplane from Mazzolini.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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