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Bob Hays Honored for Work on B-29

"Doc" Mechanic Attains Both Charles Master Mechanic and Wright Brothers Master Pilot Awards

Bob Hays, a crewman working with the B-29 Doc crew, has been recognized by the FAA with its highest honor: The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.

If that wasn't enough, he also got a second lifetime capstone award in the form of the FAA's Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, given to those who demonstrate professionalism, skill, and expertise for more than 5 decades without incident. That twin proof of quality was given to another of the Doc family's volunteers, proving the old bird is in good hands. The awards join a long list of those held by the renowned mechanics and techs that keep the B-29 flying in 2023, long after its designers and engineers expected it to be scrapped. The legendary WWII-era bombers were once the mainstay of the American strategic bomber fleet, overshadowed by jets and allowed to take their place in the mists of history. But Doc's caretakers keep their memory alive, ensuring the aircraft can continue to travel the world and provide the same awe-inspiring flybys inspired by the B-29 when it first took off in 1942.

Bob Hays started his career in 1967, beginning his PPL and going on to join the Kansas Army National Guard where he received his FAA Mechanic’s Certificate in 1975. In addition to his mechanic expertise, Bob received his CFI and ATP ratings, though not all of his jobs kept him away from desk duty. He spent a stint managing the Phillipsburg Municipal Airport, as well as jobs with Air Midwest Airlines, Cessna, Ameriflight, and Yingling Aviation. Once there, Hayes received his Inspection Authorization in 2010 and served as Yingling’s Quality Assurance Manager until his retirement in 2017. While there, Hays began to get involved in the B-29 Doc program, providing his services as an inspector and later as a maintenance team and A&P mechanic volunteer, a role he holds today.

“When I took that first flight lesson in 1967, I had no idea it would lead to nearly 60 years of being hooked on aviation and flying,” Bob said. “I’ve been blessed to have a career that has allowed me to work with so many people in an ever-changing and evolving industry that has helped to connect people and make air travel safe for so many people. I am humbled to receive these honors and recognition from the FAA, and I look forward to continuing to volunteer and work with my fellow B-29 Doc maintainers to keep Doc flying for generations to come.”



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