WICHITA, Kan. — “Doc” has gone from the depths of the desert to soaring over the Sunflower State. After years of hard work, this B-29 Superfortress is reliving its glory days.
Wichita’s World War II bomber, the B-29 Superfortress known as “Doc,” is one of only two in the world that still flies. It was originally manufactured in Wichita, and after an extensive restoration, Doc was reborn in Wichita, too.
Doc stands as a symbol of freedom. An iconic piece of World War II history and of Wichita’s role in the war effort.
“We’re awfully proud to call Wichita home and to be able to share this warbird with our home in Wichita and then really take it out on the road and go across the country,” said Josh Wells, general manager and executive director of Doc’s Friends, Inc.
“Kicking off the 2023 season, what better way to do so than do some first rides here in Wichita.”
“People here just love the airplane. I mean, they feel a tie to it. Got a lot of aviation history here. People look up, and they know that they’re proud of having their hometown plane,” said B-29 Doc Pilot In Command Mark Novak.
A ride in Doc is like taking a step back in time.
“I do it to honor the men who did it before. I have an uncle who was a B-24 commander. My grandpa was in the Navy. Retired Air Force guy, so I enjoy military history,” Novak said.
The 8,000 horsepower engines take the plane to an altitude of 2,500 feet or only 1,200 feet above ground within seconds.
“I mean, she’s a beautiful plane. She looks great on the ground, but from a thousand feet, she just glistens,” said Novak.
Doc is one of 1,644 B-29s built at Boeing’s plant in Wichita and of the restoration that took 16 years and 450,000 man-hours to complete. Doc’s first test flights were in 2016.
There are ten passenger seats on board Doc that range in price from $600-1,500 for the bombardier’s seat.
Doc will take a Texas swing for the rest of April, then spend a weekend in Arkansas. More flights and locations will be announced within the next week or two.
The B-29 Doc Hangar, Education and Visitors Center is located at Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, 1788 S. Airport Rd.
“Come out to the (B-29 Doc) museum. We have a great introduction to the B-29, and this airframe and the men who flew them and the women who built them. You can actually tour it. We do flights out of Wichita a couple of times a year,” Novak said.
The museum is open Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. when Doc is not on tour.
Want to see more warbirds? This July, warbird lovers can attend Wichita Warbird Weekend.
“We’re going to have four or five warbirds here that are going to be giving rides. Some really historic aircraft for people to get up close and personal with,” Wells said.
That’s really our mission is to help people experience the thrill of aviation history, unique planes, to really learn about our nation’s commitment to aviation and heritage as we continue forward.”
Details about the event will be announced soon.