Want to see Wichita’s restored B-29 ‘Doc’? Hangar is open to public starting Tuesday

If you’ve been wanting to visit Wichita’s restored World War II era B-29 bomber “Doc” in its new home, you now can — three days a week.

Starting Tuesday, the B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center at Eisenhower Airport will have regular business hours. The building will be open every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays when the plane is not at an airshow.

Admission to the hangar and education center, 1788 S. Airport Rd., costs $10 per person. Cockpit tours cost an additional $5.

Family admission for up to five people costs $20, plus $10 for the cockpit tour.

“Since moving into our new facility in November, we’ve been working through winter maintenance on the aircraft, while at the same time putting the finishing touches on our education and visitors center,” Josh Wells, the executive director and general manager of B-29 Doc’s Friends, said in a news release. Doc’s Friends is the nonprofit managing the bomber’s operations.

“With winter maintenance complete and the airplane nearly ready to fly, we are excited to open our doors to the public to share the historic marvel that is the B-29,” Wells added.

Later this week, Doc’s maintenance team will run the plane’s engines and finish working on its propellers in anticipation of its first flight of the year the weekend of March 23. That flight will take place weather permitting, Wells said. Doc’s airshow tour schedule hasn’t yet been finalized, he said.

The public got its first glimpse of Doc’s new permanent home during a daylong open house in January. Last month, Doc’s Friends announced tickets had gone on sale for the plane’s first public flights in 2019. The B-29 Doc Flight Experience program’s flying season kicks off over two weekends — April 13-14 and April 27-28 — with rides costing being $600 and $1,500.

Volunteers spent 450,000 over 16 years turning the Boeing B-29 Superfortress into a flying museum after it was discovered rotting in the Mojave Desert by Tony Mazzolini in 1987. The bomber is one of 1,644 planes of its kind manufactured in Wichita during WWII and one of just two that are still flying.

All of the proceeds from hangar admission will pay for the facility and Doc’s operation.

“From the beginning, we wanted a facility that would not only serve as a maintenance hangar for our volunteers to maintain the historic warbird, but also provide a unique experience for the public to get up close and personal with a piece of our nation’s history that put Wichita on the map as the Air Capital of the World,” Wells said in the news release.

“When visitors enter the B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center, they’ll get a one-of-a-kind experience that we hope will educate and inspire the next generation of aviation lovers, while we honor the Greatest Generation and connect all who visit to Wichita’s rich aviation heritage.”

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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.