A Kickstarter campaign launched Wednesday in an effort to pass one of the two last-known airworthy B-29 Superfortresses through a flight-test state.
The “Doc” aircraft has come a long way to reach the stage. The plane was intended for WWII bombing missions, but was instead purposed for radar training during the Korean War. For 42 years, Doc sat dormant at a U.S. Naval Weapons Center in the Mojave Desert. In 1998, a group of volunteers led by Tony Mazzolini and supported by the United States Aviation Museum brought in the vehicle for restoration with the hopes of bringing it back to functionality. Since 2000, thousands of parts have been donated and more than 300,000 volunteer hours have been devoted to goal.
All four of the plane’s engines were activated Sept. 18, but funding is still required, and that is where the Kickstarter effort come into the fold. The campaign is seeking $137,500 in funding by Oct. 30. The estimate funding needed will go toward fuel and oil, $70,000; crew-related expenses, $17,000; insurance, $50,000; legal fees, $15,000; parts and equipment, $15,000; and maintenance cost, $10,000. At the time this report was written, 163 backers had donated more than $19,000.
Doc is slated to hit the sky for the first time in more than 60 years later this year. After the flight, the plane will make a Wichita, Kan., museum its final home, and will be shown for the purpose of honoring individuals who served the military during and after WWII.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense