Charles Tilghman pilots the Boeing B-29 bomber "Doc" as it flies over Wichita for the first time since 1956. (July 17, 2016) footage courtesy of Doc’s Friends jgreen@wichitaeagle.com
Charles Tilghman pilots the Boeing B-29 bomber "Doc" as it flies over Wichita for the first time since 1956. (July 17, 2016) footage courtesy of Doc’s Friends jgreen@wichitaeagle.com

Air Capital Insider

Jerry Siebenmark shares inside knowledge of Wichita's aviation industry.

Air Capital Insider

A permanent home for B-29 ‘Doc’ may have been found

By Jerry Siebenmark

jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com

July 14, 2017 11:23 AM

UPDATED July 14, 2017 05:46 PM

It looks like “Doc,” the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, may have found a permanent home at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport.

An advisory e-mailed by the city on Friday said City Council members were expected to attend “A Home for Doc” announcement Monday morning at Eisenhower.

Josh Wells, a spokesman for Doc’s Friends, declined to discuss details of Monday’s announcement.

The World War II-era bomber has been temporarily located at a hangar at Air Capital Flight Line on South Oliver.

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But that hangar is in a secure area with fences and armed guards because it’s next to McConnell Air Force Base’s runway.

The site of Monday’s announcement at Eisenhower Airport is the former Cessna Employees Flying Club. The building is leased from the airport by Yingling Aviation, said Brad Christopher, assistant director of airports.

“It’s an old building and one of the original buildings built with the airport (in 1954),” Christopher said.

It’s not clear whether that will be the site of Doc’s new home or whether a new building will be constructed somewhere nearby.

Doc’s Friends has been looking for a permanent facility for the historic warbird for some time. It has wanted a hangar or a building where it could maintain but also exhibit the Wichita-built aircraft when it wasn’t flying, “a place for people to come see Doc,” Wells, the group’s spokesman, said in a story earlier this year.

Eisenhower also offers the advantage of large, well-maintained runways that don’t require permission from the Pentagon to use. When Doc’s Friends crews were ready to put the airplane through ground testing a little more than a year ago, they had to seek Defense Department approval to use McConnell’s runway.

It was nearly a year ago that Doc eased into the Wichita skies following more than 16 years of restoration involving hundreds of area volunteers who collectively put in more than 350,000 hours of work to make the plane airworthy.

Boeing’s Wichita plant churned out 1,644 of the airplanes during World War II. The B-29 is best known as the bomber type that dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending World War II in the Pacific.

Doc served in a squadron named Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from 1945 until 1956.

The bomber began touring air shows this year and is set to make its next appearance at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture July 24-30 in Oshkosh, Wis.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark