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Mon, May 19, 2014

B-29 'Doc' Nearly Airworthy

Group Hopes WWII Bomber Will Fly This Year

The group working to restore the B-29 bomber 'Doc' to an airworthy condition says that the iconic airplane should be ready to fly by the end of the year, and the journey has taken several interesting twists and turns along the way.

The man recognized as the driving force behind Doc's restoration is Tony Mazzolini, who had been a flight engineer in the U.S. Air Force. Serendipity had Mazzolini meet singer Tennessee Ernie Ford backstage after a concert years ago, and Ford introduced Mazzolini to The Commemorative Air Force. From there, Mazzolini became immersed in the world of historic aircraft restoration.

The Wichita Business Journal reports that, in a speech to the Wichita Aero Club Tuesday, Mazzolini recounted his long journey that led to the formation of the "Doc's Friends" group that located the B-29 and has brought the restoration near completion.

The airplane sat in a desert boneyard for 42 years before being bought by the group, a process that took 11 years to work through the bureaucracy and paper shuffling.

Mazzolini moved his restoration base of operations from Cleveland, OH to Wichita to work on the B-29 project, which is housed in a hangar donated by Boeing. The donation of space runs out at the end of the year.

But "Doc's Friends" say the airplane should be back in the air by the time the donation runs its course. They hope to find a permanent home for the B-29 in Wichita, from which they will fly it as a living museum around the country.

FMI: www.b-29doc.com


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