The Kickstarter campaign aimed at helping one of the two last-known airworthy B-29 Superfortresses to take flight closed Oct. 30, with the goal easily met.
The financing originally sought to help pass the “Doc” aircraft through a flight-test state was originally $137,500, a goal that was met after three weeks. Much of the donating was spurred by an anonymous donor who was willing to match any donation up to $10,000. Thanks to the backing of more than 1,000 people, the campaign, which was created by “Doc’s Friends,” raised $159,151 in funding in a 30 day span. Doc’s Friends is a non-profit group dedicated to bringing “Doc” back to the skies.
Before the Kickstarter campaign, Doc’s Friends hadn’t tried its hand at crowdfunding.
“This was a leap of faith for us. We knew Doc had a lot of friends, but now we know Doc has family around the world,” said Tom Bertels, a Doc’s Friends board member, in a press release from the group.
“It’s truly humbling. The outpouring of interest and goodwill from so many people inspires us to get Doc back in the air, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” added Jeff Turner, retired Spirit Aerosystems CEO and Doc’s Friends chairman.
The greatest portion of the money earned, $70,000, will fund the plane’s fuel and oil. The estimated funding for the remainder of the project will include crew-related expenses, $17,000; insurance, $50,000; legal fees, $15,000; parts and equipment, $15,000; and maintenance cost, $10,000. The excess funds will be put toward the flight-test program and the operation of the aircraft.
The restored “Doc” aircraft played a fascinating role in American military history. Originally built for use in WWII bombing missions, the Doc was ultimately used for radar training during the Korean War. After that period of use, Doc was inactive for 42 years and was stored at the U.S. Naval Weapons Center in the Mojave Desert. In 1998, a group of volunteers purchased the vehicle with of hopes of restoring it to the point of functionality. Since 2000, the volunteer group received thousands of donated parts. Also during that time span, helpers provided 300,000 volunteer hours.
Doc is expected to take its first flight in more than 60 years later in 2015. Following the flight, the plane will be taken to its permanent home in Wichita, Kan.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense