Now 2 flying B-29s - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 18th, 16, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Now 2 flying B-29s

For many years, the Commemorative Air Force's "FIFI" has been the sole flying example of the B-29 Superfortress. Now there are two! After a lengthy restoration, B-29 "Doc" took to the air yesterday.
https://youtu.be/CscShi3BV8Q
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 18th, 16, 10:32 PM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

I got chills !! My Grandfather in law spent his time in WWII training pilots to fly these stateside. I will need to pass this on to him.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 18th, 16, 10:32 PM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

Great stuff!

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 18th, 16, 11:05 PM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

Thanks Alan. Awesome.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 16, 3:24 AM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

After my uncles B24 Liberator crashed he finished WWII in a B29. He flew 88 missions with Gen. Chenault in Asia. A pic of his B24 before it crashed. Some of our greatest art was on the nose of these planes.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 16, 3:43 AM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

Thank you for posting this video.

I didnt realize this was the view from the pilots seat.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 16, 6:47 AM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

Hadn't seen this video od Doc, yet. Cool footage from the cockpit. Thank God there are still people out there that are willing to put forth the massive effort to bring these ol' birds back. A project like this has to be a million times harder to do than the worst rusted Midwestern car out there. Thank you to all involved!
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 16, 10:10 AM
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Feel proud to have a small part in bringing this old Warbird back to life. I worked for the Boeing Co. in Wichita for 36 years, 28 of which were spent on the flight line in the transportation dept. I remember in 2000 when "Doc" arrived from the California desert on 5 flat bed semi trucks. My self and several members of the transportation dept. spent several days craning and fork lifting parts off the flat bed trucks and moving into the hanger for the beginning of the restoration. Engines, landing gear, main body was in two sections, tail assembly, wings, the whole works. Very interesting and quite humbling to have a hand in bringing "Doc" to flight status.

At one point in my time at Boeing Wichita, "FiFi" visited Boeing Wichita and I got the unique opportunity and privilege to tow her from the hanger to the taxi way for the return flight to Texas. Quite a thrill listening to the old radial engines come to life. Sadly the Boeing Wichita flight line is no more, Boeing closed the Wichita Division flight line a couple years ago. A lot of history was wrapped up in those buildings. The Wichita Plant Two was sold off in 2005 to become Spirit Aero Systems. Love those old WWll warbirds and we owe such a debt to those who fought within them.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 16, 12:52 PM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

I love these old aircraft. I have been inside of FiFi. I also get to see a B-17 (Sentimental Journey) and a B-25 (Maid In The Shade) flying regularly over my house, in addition to a Douglas C-47, a beechcraft C-45, and a T-6 Texan. I always head outside when I hear those engines overhead.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 16, 1:35 PM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan F View Post
For many years, the Commemorative Air Force's "FIFI" has been the sole flying example of the B-29 Superfortress. Now there are two! After a lengthy restoration, B-29 "Doc" took to the air yesterday.
https://youtu.be/CscShi3BV8Q
That's great news!

I was part of the volunteer crew who dragged it out of the desert at China Lake in 1998.

The Restoration of B29 'Doc' - Saved from a Desert Death - DesertUSA

nots5.html


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 16, 6:13 PM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tophog View Post
That's great news!

I was part of the volunteer crew who dragged it out of the desert at China Lake in 1998.

The Restoration of B29 'Doc' - Saved from a Desert Death - DesertUSA

nots5.html

Rescuing Doc the B-29 from the China Lake Bombing range - YouTube
Tophog, thanks for posting the youtube link. Gave me some back ground on Doc before it came to Boeing Wichita when we received it for the restoration. Some great pics, would have liked to have been in on that portion of the rescue also. Never got the chance to actually get inside FiFi but sure enjoyed being able to tow her to the taxi way for flight. Not many folks today can say they have towed a B-29 Super Fortress. Towed a LOT of aircraft in my time at Boeing to include the Presidential AF-1 747 and a Russian Antonov 124 cargo plane. Doc still stands out from those !
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 16, 6:55 PM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tophog View Post
That's great news!

I was part of the volunteer crew who dragged it out of the desert at China Lake in 1998.

The Restoration of B29 'Doc' - Saved from a Desert Death - DesertUSA

nots5.html

Rescuing Doc the B-29 from the China Lake Bombing range - YouTube
I was in China Lake when they flew "IT'S HAWG WILD" out of there in the late 70's. It was quite the event; they would announce that they were going to launch, and everyone would go out to the flight line to watch. (They flew it out, from the base). I remember it took several attempts, over the course of days, before they finally felt it was safe enough to take off and fly it to Tucson.
Later, I came home (to Tucson) on leave, and the local news channel was still using footage of it flying around Tucson for it's opening credits, and on the plywood cover where the tail gunner glass would be, you could see the sticker from my squadron (VX-5) put on there by volunteers.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 16, 11:35 PM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

Watching the video of the engines starting up took me back to my youth. My dad worked for Hayes Aircraft back in the early 50s repairing North American B-25s and Fairchild C-119 "Flying Box Cars" here in Birmingham. The service bays were enormous. Each of these bays measured 160' x 750' x 40' . These housed the aircraft while workers stood on elevated platforms. He related he worked on a crew that removed fuel tanks from the wings.. We were poor, and lived in what was called "The Barracks" next to the Hayes facility. When they would crank up a bomber, all the kids would gather and try to see one take off. Watching a flight of the these bombers landing was a special treat. If the flights arrived on dads off day, we would drive a couple of blocks,park next to the fence,and watch them land. For a young kid, nothing could match that excitement. One last thing he told me, they had a clause in the contract with the government entitled IRAN. Dad said it stood for Inspect, Repair As Necessary. Dad said somebody made a fortune off of that open ended contract. He said he topped out at $2.00 hr at Hayes when he left to go back to the railroad. Man what memories. Thanks for posting.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 20th, 16, 4:14 AM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

Quote:
Originally Posted by 71-SS350 View Post
Tophog, thanks for posting the youtube link. Gave me some back ground on Doc before it came to Boeing Wichita when we received it for the restoration. Some great pics, would have liked to have been in on that portion of the rescue also. Never got the chance to actually get inside FiFi but sure enjoyed being able to tow her to the taxi way for flight. Not many folks today can say they have towed a B-29 Super Fortress. Towed a LOT of aircraft in my time at Boeing to include the Presidential AF-1 747 and a Russian Antonov 124 cargo plane. Doc still stands out from those !
The links and videos don't really tell the Ridgecrest chapter.

-

Dragging it across 37 miles of desert required 3 days and the help of approx. 100 people, along with trucks and a Cat supplied by US Rentals.

We had to build temporary bridges across sand washes, using railroad ties. Once a wash was crossed, we dismantled the bridge and raced to the next wash! Edison had to raise power lines at appropriate spots, and the Highway Patrol closed and escorted us up Hwy. 395 for a couple miles.

After securing the plane on donated land, Tony Mazzolini put out a request for volunteers to help start a new museum, with 'Doc' as the centerpiece. So we started USAM (United States Air Museum).

24 hour security was needed until the area was fenced, so we volunteers stood 8 hour shifts.

Fencing, office trailers, portable lighting, etc. were all donated by local businesses. I donated signage and lettered the huge water tank on the property, since I had a sign business at the time.

Volunteers were assigned positions within the museum. I was supposed to be in charge of all signage and paint restoration.

Once the 'museum' was in operation, including a couple French air force fighters donated by a local collector, things changed.

Late one night, the locks were changed, and members were denied access. Unmarked trucks and crews arrived, dismantled 'Doc' over the next couple days, loaded it up on flatbeds and hauled it off to Wichita! No locals were notified beforehand, so we really felt screwed. Tony didn't even stick around to say "Kiss my ass!"

-

The one highlight was our grand opening.

The three surviving crew members of the Enola Gay, Col. Paul Tibbets, Maj. Thomas Ferrebee and Pvt. Richard Nelson, attended and that evening the museum volunteers were treated to a private dinner, with Col. Tibbets as the guest of honor.

-

Overall, it was an experience I would do again.

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Last edited by Tophog; Jul 20th, 16 at 5:13 AM.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Jul 20th, 16, 9:34 AM
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Re: Now 2 flying B-29s

Great news thanks. I always go every year to Wildwood in Nj to see the old planes. I was only 7 years old in 1952 and lived across from Newark Airport on Route 1 and 9 in Elizabeth and still remember bombers lining up on the runway

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