For many years, only one flying example of the B-29 Superfortress has been worthy of soaring above the clouds. The B-29 is the same plane type that effectively ended World War II on the Pacific front by dropping atomic bombs on Japan. That single flyable plane, known as "Fifi" is about to be joined by her sibling, "Doc."
Plans to restore the plane were hatched back in 1987 when the B-29 was found to have survived its afterlife as a practice target, largely intact. Doc has been under restoration in Wichita, Kansas since 2000, and thanks to the work of volunteers, machinists, mechanics, and veterans, Doc is being prepped to fly once again this spring. Doc is ready to fly right now, according to AvWeb but the air temperatures aren't warm enough to warm the engine oil.
B-29 Superfortress "Fifi" by Paul Thompson
3,970 B-29s were built, and Doc was built in 1946 — too late to be put into service during WWII. However, it did serve in Korea, and also with the Strategic Air Command until the B-52 came along. The two B-29s that dropped atomic bombs are housed in museums, and could probably be restored to flyable condition, buy why? "Enola Gay," which dropped the Little Boy bomb on Hiroshima, August 6, 1945 is at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy branch of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Dulles, Virginia. "Bockscar," which dropped the Fat Man bomb on Nagasaki, August 9, 1945 is at the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.
As it stands today, Doc is scheduled to appear at AirVenture 2015 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, along with Fifi. Doc's restoration project manager, T.J. Norman told the Wichita Eagle, "It's the first time in 60 years that two B-29s have been able to fly in formation together." Doc is the last known B-29 airframe thought to be in a condition good enough to be restored to flight-worthy status. In March, a ceremonial roll-out is planned, which will be followed by engine run-up and taxi tests. Doc is expected to finally fly again in April or May.
Top image is cut from the Friends of Doc video
Paul Thompson is a aviation journalist with over 13 years of experience working in the airline industry, who maintains the website Flight Club for Jalopnik.com. You can contact Paul to submit story ideas, your own "Plane Porn" photos, and comments regarding this or any other aviation topic via email at paul@Jalopnik.com. You can also follow Flight Club on Twitter: @flightclubnews