RESTORATION OF DOC
When Tony Mazzolini first saw the "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" squadron of eight B-29 Superfortress bombers at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York in the early 1950s, he had no clue that he would someday find one of them sitting in the desert at China Lake in 1987---and in such good condition. Mazzolini has a special attachment to the Superfortress, as he was a member of a B-29 crew when he served in the Air Force. Being able to bring one back to life has become a mission for him.
The only known surviving member of the squadron, "Doc" is about to come to life once again, restored to actual flying condition at the hands of Mazzolini and other aviation buffs at Boeing in Witchita, KS. "Doc," which features the picture of the Walt Disney movie character of the same name on its nose, originally sat about 20 miles north of the Armitage Field runways at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.
Doc's first journey towards rebirth was to be taken to Inyokern CA where the restoration process started at the United States Aviation Museum. Doc remained at Inyokern for approximately two years where restoration had begun. The rational and the decision to move the B-29 was one of necessity, the severity of the corrosion in the center wing skins and lower spar required the plane be jacked and jigged for a lengthy period of time. The nature of this work needed to be in a hangar because of the severe unpredictable winds and other climate considerations.
four independent inspections done on this airplane over the last two years,
each one confirmed the other...the major work needed to be done. Inyokern
did not have the infrastructure, equipment and technicians to perform
the rather delicate work and the clock was running out!
"Doc," (B-29 Superfortress 44-69972, Production # 10805) ) was manufactured by Boeing Aircraft Company at Wichita, KS, and delivered to the Air Force on March 23, 1945. "Doc" has four engines with 2,200 horsepower each. The plane has a wingspan that stretches 141 feet, three inches, is 99 feet long and stands 29 feet, seven inches high. When fully loaded, she weighed 141,000 pounds. The plane could fly up to 358 mph, had a range of 4,100 miles, could carry up to 20,000 pounds of bombs, and held enemy aircraft at bay with 10 machine guns and one 20mm cannon. It took a crew of 10 to fly the plane.