Want to ride on restored B-29 ‘Doc’? Tickets for 2019’s first flights on sale now

If you want to ride on Wichita’s restored Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Doc,” tickets for 2019’s first flights are available now for $600 to $1,500.

The B-29 Doc Flight Experience program kicks off this year’s flying season during two weekends this spring: April 13-14 and April 27-28.

The program lets members of the public take a 30-minute ride on the decommissioned WWII-era bomber for a fee, plus gives paying passengers an hour-long history lesson and crew briefing.

Tickets cost $600 a piece for gunner seats (there are six available per flight); $1,200 each for navigator or cockpit observer seats; and $1,500 each for bombardier seats.

Sale proceeds will pay for Doc’s operating expenses, including aircraft maintenance, insurance, hangar operations and the more than $3,000 cost of fuel per flight hour, said Josh Wells, executive director of B-29 Doc’s Friends, the nonprofit managing the bomber’s operations.

“The B-29 Doc Flight Experience provides a unique perspective into what it was like for our nation’s war heroes to fly in a B-29 Superfortress to protect freedom during one of our nation’s greatest challenges,” Wells said by email.

“Passengers will experience the sights and sounds of the B-29 that only a few have ever been able to experience. A ride on Doc will change your perspective on aviation and the heroes of World War II.”

Flights are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on April 13, 14, 27 and 28. Additional dates will be announced in the future.

For more information or to book a flight, go to www.b29doc.com/rides.

Doc is one of 1,644 Boeing B-29s manufactured in Wichita during WWII and one of just two that can still fly. Discovered rotting in the Mojave Desert in 1987, Doc took volunteers around 450,000 hours over a 16-year time span to restore.

The public got its first look at the bomber’s new permanent home, a hangar and education center at Eisenhower Airport, during an open house last month. The facility expects to announce regular operating hours sometime early this year.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.