Doc (aircraft)

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Doc
B-29 Doc McConnell Air Force Base July 17, 2016.jpg
Doc over McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, on July 17, 2016
Type Boeing B-29-70-BW Superfortress
Manufacturer Boeing
Manufactured 1944
Registration N69972
Serial 44-69972 United States Army Air Forces
Owners and operators United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
United States Aviation Museum
Doc's Friends, Inc.
In service 1945-1956
Status Airworthy

Doc is a Boeing B-29 Superfortress four-engined heavy bomber, and one of only two that are currently flying, the other being FIFI. It is owned by Doc's Friends, Inc., a non-profit organization.

Military career[edit]

The B-29 was built in 1944 as part of a production run of 1620 aircraft built by Boeing at Wichita, Kansas and allocated the military Serial Number 44-69972.[1][2] It was delivered to the United States Army Air Forces in March 1945. The aircraft did not see combat, and was converted to a radar calibration aircraft in 1951 and based at Griffiss Air Force Base, New York. While based at Griffiss, the squadron's members named their B-29s after characters in the Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and 44-69972 became Doc.[3] In 1955, the aircraft, modified as a TB-29, was moved to Yuma County Airport in Arizona to be used as a target tug.[4] Retired from the United States Air Force in 1956, it was sent to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake for use as a ballistic missile target.[5]

Restoration[edit]

The airframe was acquired by the United States Aviation Museum of Cleveland, Ohio, for restoration to flight status. After extensive restoration work at the Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas where it was originally built, the aircraft was moved in March 2007 to the Kansas Aviation Museum. In February 2013, the aircraft was acquired by the non-profit organization "Doc's Friends". As of June 2014, all four overhauled engines and propellers had been reinstalled, a spokesperson for the group stating at that time, that the aircraft would be airborne by the end the year.[citation needed] This timetable was not achieved, with the aircraft being towed out of the workshop for the first time on March 23, 2015.[6] A few months after the rollout the first post-restoration flight was anticipated to take place by the end of the year.[7] At 8am on September 18, 2015, Doc successfully completed its first engine starts and testing of all four engines in Wichita.[8] On May 11, 2016 the restoration crew performed the first of many low-speed taxi tests as the final preparations for the post-restoration flight began. This marked the first time since 1956, that the B-29 moved under its own power. Doc traveled more than a half mile during the taxi test and the crew was able to successfully test the brakes and steering.[9] The aircraft received a certificate of airworthiness from the Federal Aviation Administration on May 20, 2016, allowing it be flown.[10]

On July 7, 2016, it flew for the first time since 1956, piloted by members of FIFI's flight crews.[11] Take off was delayed due to issues with the forward bomb bay doors latching shut, and the flight was conducted with the undercarriage down.[12] The event was livestreamed on YouTube and the Doc's Friends website.[13][14][15]

The Smithsonian Institution's Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine carried an in depth review of Doc's history in its September 2016 issue.[16]

Doc participated in its first airshow since the restoration, the Defenders of Liberty Airshow, on May 6 and 7, 2017 at Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, Louisiana.[17][18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Andrade 1979, p. 50
  2. ^ "FAA Registry N69972". Federal Aviation Authority. September 2016.
  3. ^ "Rome art flies high again on restored B-29 Superfortress". Rome Sentinel. 12 July 2015.
  4. ^ T.O. 1B-29(T)-1 : USAF SERIES TB-29 AIRCRAFT. United States Air Force. 15 March 1956. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  5. ^ "B-29 Superfortress 'Doc' makes first flight". Flypast. Stamford, Lincolnshire, England: Key Publishing Limited. September 2016. p. 6. ISSN 0262-6950.
  6. ^ "B-29 "Doc" Rolls Out In Wichita". AVweb. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  7. ^ Grady, Mary (August 24, 2015). "B-29 'Doc' Inches Closer To Flight". AVweb. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  8. ^ Kauh, Elaine (September 18, 2015). "First Engine Start Completed For B-29 "Doc"". AVweb. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  9. ^ Doc's Friends (11 May 2016). "VIDEO: Doc is on the move with low-speed taxi test". b-29doc.com. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  10. ^ "World War II bomber 'Doc' cleared for takeoff". kansas.com. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  11. ^ B-29 ‘Doc’ takes to the skies from McConnell. Accessed September, 24 2016.
  12. ^ Meet Doc, One of Only Two Flying B-29s in the World. Accessed 24 September 2016.
  13. ^ "B-29 Doc First flight". YouTube. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  14. ^ "B-29 "Doc" First Flight in 60 years! World's 2nd Superfortress Takeoff from Wichita, Kansas 7/17/16". youtube. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Doc's Friends". Doc's Friends. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  16. ^ Joiner, Stephen (September 2016). "Meet "Doc," One of Only Two Flying B-29s in the World". Air & Space. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  17. ^ Bergqvist, Pia (9 May 2017). "B-29 Doc Makes Triumphant Entrance at Barksdale AFB". Flying. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  18. ^ Grady, Mary (9 May 2017). "B-29 'Doc' Makes Airshow Debut". AVweb. Retrieved 9 May 2017.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Andrade, John M. (1979). "United States Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Leicester, England: Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 0 904597 22 9.

External links[edit]