WAC Trophy Awardees
Doc’s Friends Restoration Team
January 23, 2016
Doc’s Friends Restoration Team, the group leading the return of the B-29 known as ‘Doc’, to flyable status, received the annual Wichita Aero Club Trophy on Saturday, January 23, 2016.
“This award recognizes our team of restoration volunteers, and it signifies and celebrates their great dedication to getting our historic B-29 back into the air,” said Tony Mazzolini, Doc’s Champion and the person who first identified the last restorable B-29 in 1987. “Receiving the Wichita Aero Club Trophy is testament to the long hours and tireless work these volunteers have put in since the plane was rescued from a bombing range in the Mojave Desert three decades ago.”
Fifty-eight of the Doc volunteers were in attendance and were recognized during the annual Wichita Aero Club Gala in January, where the trophy was presented. Mr. Mazzolini, Doc Restoration Program Manager Jim Murphy, and Connie Palacio, an authentic “Rosie the Riveter” who worked on the airplane when it was originally built in Wichita in the 1940′s spoke.
“From the beginning, this team has been focused on one thing: getting this historic warbird back into the air,” said Jim Murphy, Restoration Program Manager for Doc’s Friends. “This plane means so much to so many people. Many of our volunteers either helped build our B-29 when it came off the assembly line at Boeing Wichita in 1945 or served our nation in a B-29 during conflict. Some have even carried out their volunteer work to honor a loved one who either served our nation in a B-29 or was member of Wichita aviation work force during the 1940s and 50s.”
The restoration team recently successfully started and ran all four engines as they prepare for an Airworthiness Certificate from the FAA, which could be received in the next few weeks. Following certification, the crew will embark on ground and taxi testing before eventually entering into the test flight status. Murphy and the Doc’s Friends restoration team are hopeful they can reach the first flight milestone before the end of the year.
In order to reach the first flight milestone, Doc’s Friends held a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to cover the costs of engine, taxi, and flight-testing.
“It’s all about getting the plane back into the air,” Turner said. “Every dollar matters, and it all goes into the cost of restoring the plane. Every single pledge will make a difference, whether it’s $10, $25, or $1,000—and we’re running out of time.”
The Kickstarter campaign ran through the end of October. More information about the Kickstarter campaign can be found here.
About Doc’s Friends
Doc’s Friends is a 501c3 non-profit board managing the restoration of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress known as Doc. The group was formed in 2013 and is led by retired Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner along with other Wichita business leaders; Charlie Chandler, Jack Pelton, Steve Clark, Lynn Nichols, Brad Gorsuch, Vic McMullen, Ron Ryan, Tim Buchanan, Jeff Peier, Esq., and Tom Bertels. Doc’s Friends is committed to returning this World War II warbird to the air to honor previous generations, educate current and future generations and connect the world to the rich heritage of aviation. You can find more information about Doc’s Friends at www.b-29doc.com.