Doc is a B-29 Superfortress and one of 1,644 manufactured in Wichita during World War II. Since 1987 when Tony Mazzolini found Doc on sitting and rotting away in the Mojave Desert, plans have been in the works to restore the historic warbird to flying status to serve as a flying museum.
Over the past 15+ years, hundreds of volunteers have worked on Doc and the restoration project. Skilled workers and retirees from Wichita’s aviation industry, veterans, active duty military and others wanting to honor those who served, have spent tens of thousands of hours on Doc’s restoration. Countless individuals and organizations also made financial and in-kind contributions to keep the project going. Below is a brief timeline of Doc’s military service, the restoration effort and Doc’s current mission.
Discover Doc’s Journey Below
1945 - Doc Rolls Off Assembly Line
In March of 1945, B-29 No. 44-69972 (now known as Doc) was delivered to the U.S. Army. About five months later another B-29 was used to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, eventually leading to Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II.
1951 - Doc Serves in Multiple Non-Combat Roles
In July of 1951, Doc was assigned to radar calibration duty, along with a few other B-29s. The squadron was known as the Seven Dwarfs. In May of 1955, Doc was assigned to target-towing duty and in March a year later, Doc and the rest of its squadron became targets for bomb training at China Lake, California.
1987 - Found by Tony Mazzolini
For 42 years, Doc sat in the Mojave Desert serving as a target for the U.S. Navy. In 1987, Tony Mazzolini found Doc and began plans to remove and eventually restore the B-29 warbird to flying status. It would take another 12 years before Mazzolini and his team would be able to take possession of the airplane from the U.S. government.
1998 - Restoration Plans Begin
After more than a decade of contacting multiple government agencies and working with volunteers in the China Lake area, Tony took possession of the once target practice plane. A few months later in April of 1998, Tony and his team of volunteers towed Doc out of its 42 year resting place on the floor of the Mojave Desert.
2000 - Doc Returns to Wichita
After arranging for an inspection by an expert on aging Boeing aircraft, Mazzolini realized it would take extensive resources and specific expertise to return the Doc to flying condition. So the B-29 returned to Wichita in sections on flatbed trailers in May of 2000. Volunteers began the process of reassembling the B-29 and drew up plans to restore the historic warbird which was now sitting a few hundred feet from where it first rolled off the Boeing-Wichita assembly line some 50+ years before. Dedicated volunteers spent countless hours in the early stages of restoring the historic plane.
2013 - Doc’s Friends Makes Restoration Commitment
In February of 2013, a group of Wichita aviation enthusiasts & business leaders led by retired Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner formed Doc’s Friends, a 501c3 non-profit board to manage the restoration project and help see it through to completion.
2017 - Inaugural Air Show Tour Season Begins
Doc attends eight air shows in four states, including the 2017 EAA AirVenture and the 70th Anniversary of Joint Base Andrews in Washington, D.C., attracting record crowds along the way.
2018 - Hangar Construction Begins
Major construction begins on the B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center
2018 - Construction on Doc’s Home is Completed
B-29 Doc was rolled into his new home in November 2018 as major construction on the hangar was completed.
2019 - B-29 Doc Hangar, Education & Visitors Center Opens to the Public
In January of 2019, the 42,000 sq.ft. home is opened to the public and officially dedicated.
2019April through October
2019 - 2019 B-29 Doc History Restored Tour Season
The 2019 tour season for B-29 Doc included stops in 21 cities across 10 states. Throughout the April through October season, the Doc flight crew and volunteer team executed more than 70 B-29 Doc Flight Experiences and logged more than 115 flight hours in 2019.
2020April through October
2020 - 2020 B-29 Doc History Restored Tour
In a year interrupted by COVID-19, the B-29 Doc Hangar, Education and Visitors Center celebrated its second year of being open to the public in Wichita, KS. The highlight of the 2020 tour season was a trip to Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II. Although the weather prevented the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover from happening, the B-29 Doc crew was humbled to be part of the historic events to honor our nation’s World War II veterans. Click here to watch a video highlight of Doc’s mission in Washington, D.C.
2021 - 2021 B-29 Doc History Restored Tour
The 2021 tour season for B-29 Doc included stops in 17 cities across 12 states, including a return trip to China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in California, where it had been more than 60 years since Doc last landed. Along the way, our team met thousands of people and made new friends across the country during the tour season. We were honored to share our love of history with those who took part in the B-29 Doc History Restored Tour in 2021. In Wichita, the B-29 Doc Hangar, Education and Visitors Center welcomed aviation and World War II history enthusiasts and visitors from across the United States and the world. We also hosted numerous events, including six high school proms and a dance recital.
NowLook in on B-29 Doc
Now - Live at the B-29 Doc Hangar
Click here for live streaming video when Doc is in the hangar.