A World War II bomber that spent more than four decades as a target for the United States Navy is taking to the skies again! The B-29 Superfortress known as “Doc” will join “Fifi” the only other of the mega-bombers still flying today.
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In March of 1945, Doc (officially known as B-29 No. 44-69972) was delivered to the U.S. Army. Just five months later a pair of other B-29 aircraft, the Enola Gay and Bockscar, would drop the atomic bombs Fat Man and Little Boy on Japan, ending World War II.
Doc would go on to serve the military in various roles until 1956, when its entire squadron was retired to be used as targets for bomb training at China Lake, California.
Unlike many of it’s squadron mates, Doc survived it’s time as a target almost unscathed:
Tony Mazzolini found Doc still sitting in the Mohave Desert as a target in 1987 and began plans to remove and restore the legendary warbird to flying status. It would be a 12 year battle with the United States government just to get permission to take the plane and begin the arduous process.
Following a decade of battling with multiple government agencies and the help of countless volunteers in the China Lake area, Tony took possession of the once target practice plane and towed Doc out of it’s 42 year resting place on the floor of the desert.
Doc’s transformation started with an expert inspection at the same Wichita Boeing plant where it was assembled in March of 2000. Plans were drawn up to restore the then-decrepit bomber to it’s original glory just a few hundred feet from where it first rolled off the assembly line some 54 years earlier.
Here’s an awesome video showing the process of taking this historic bird from target to treasure: