Doc’s Friends to Resume Flight Testing of B-29

Thorough post-flight inspection reveals only minor issues.

B-29 Doc
The B-29 Doc is ready to return to the skies three weeks after its short first flight, seen above.Facebook/Doc's Friends

About three weeks after its short first flight, Doc is getting ready to take to the skies again. Following the flight, the B-29 Superfortress, which has been restored by volunteers in Wichita, Kansas, for many years, has undergone a very thorough post-flight inspection. Only a few minor issues were found, none of which will prevent further flight testing.

The reason why the test pilots cut the first flight short was the ignition of an engine light related to one of eight chip detectors (there are two for each engine). However, the issue appears to have been minor. "The chip detector did its job, but it's overly sensitive," said Jim Murphy, Doc's Friends restoration project manager. "The new radial engines on Doc take about 50 hours of flight to break in and during that time, you're going to see tiny particles of metal … it's just the way it is."

Murphy said the group hopes to replace the chip detectors with new ones that can not only distinguish between small and large pieces of metal but also eliminate tiny pieces. However, the cost of those types of chip detectors is high.

In addition to evaluating the engines, the team inspected all the systems and control surfaces thoroughly, and reviewed video from the flight. "So far, everything has been rock solid," Murphy said. Doc is expected to fly again before the end of the month. In the meantime, enjoy this video, shot from the chase plane during the first flight.