By Patricia Farris News Review Publisher–
The restored WWII-era B-29 Superfortress “DOC” will return to Inyokern Airport for a third time on Friday, September 30. On Saturday and Sunday, October 1 and 2, rides will begin followed by afternoon, ground and cockpit tours which will be available both days until 4 p.m. Admission for the static display event and flight deck tours will be $10 per person.
“There are a few seats left, but they are selling quickly,” said Michael Cash, Tour sponsor.
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 Kansas during World War II. Since 1987 when an enthusiast named Tony Mazzolini found Doc sitting and rotting away in the Mojave Desert, plans were made to restore the historic warbird to flying status to serve as a flying museum.
For more than 15+ years, hundreds of volunteers worked on Doc and the restoration project. Skilled workers and retirees from Wichita’s aviation industry, veterans, and active duty military wanting to honor those who served, have spent tens of thousands of hours on Doc’s restoration. Doc derived its name from Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
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.
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.
Mazzolini took possession of the once-target practice plane. April of 1998, 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. It took three days to get the plane 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.
B29-Doc first landed at China Lake in March of 1956.