Doc's Friends Crowdfunding for B-29 Flight Test

Historic B-29 might return to the sky after 60 years.

B-29 Doc Night

B-29 Doc Night

B-29 Doc (Photo courtesy of Doc's Friends)

Doc's Friends, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring one of the last-known airworthy B-29s (the only currently being FIFI), has started a crowdfunding campaign to return Doc to the skies. Although Doc hasn't flown in 60 years, the organization anticipates that he'll be airborne by the end of this year. The B-29 recently conducted its first engine run, which was a success.

In order to fund Doc's flight testing, Doc's Friends is seeking to raise $137,500 through its 30-day Kickstarter campaign which launched this week.

Among the campaign's supporters are Apollo 13 crew members Jim Lovell and Fred Haise, as well as former SR-71 pilot Buz Carpenter, who offered their thoughts on the historical importance of restoring Doc in a video on the Kickstarter page.

"It's always important to get people to volunteer and help fund the restoration of these projects because it's a way of people contributing to the younger generation some of the aspects of what happened in the past," said Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell.

The extensive project has been in the works since 1988, when Tony Mazzolini and a team of volunteers "rescued" Doc from the U.S. Naval Weapons Testing Center, where the historic bomber had been deteriorating in the Mojave Desert for 42 years. In 2000, the restoration process began; and now, after more than 300,000 volunteer hours and thousands of donated aircraft parts, Doc's Friends' collective dream is almost a reality.

Get exclusive online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.