B-29 ’Doc’ to land at IYK on Oct. 1

B-29 ’Doc’ to land at IYK on Oct. 1Gates will open for ground and flight deck tours from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 1, Saturday, Oct. 2 and Sunday, Oct. 3. In the afternoon, ground and cockpit tours will be available both days until 4 p.m. Admission for the static display event and flight deck tours will be $10 per person For details about the B-29 Doc Flight Experience, visit www.b29doc.com/rides. Flight tickets are sold out.

Visitors can enter the Inyokern event through the main terminal building. Tickets for static ground and flight deck tours can be purchased at the event. Doc is a B-29 Superfortress and one of 1,644 manufactured in Wichita during World War II. Since 1987 when an enthusiast named 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.

For more than 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 wanting to honor those who served, have spent tens of thousands of hours on Doc’s restoration.

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.

For 42 years, Doc sat in the Mojave Desert serving as a target for the U.S. Navy. In 1987, 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.

Tony took possession of the once target practice plane. April of 1998, Tony and his team of volunteers towed Doc out of its 42 year resting place and towed it across the desert from China Lake to Inyokern Airport.

After a couple of years while Doc remained at Inyokern Airport, volunteers made some repairs but realized that much more extensive work would need to be done.

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.

This year Doc will land at China Lake completing the full circle journey that started when B29-Doc first landed at China Lake in March of 1956.

Story First Published: 2021-09-24