Doc, the Wichita-based B-29 under restoration by volunteers who brought its engines back to life in mid-September with a little help from Doc's Friends, now needs a financial boost for takeoff and flight testing. A Kickstarter campaign that opened Sept. 30 raised $16,970 on the first day toward the $137,500 needed for the flight test phase.
The Kansas aviation history community has gathered around Doc to help send it onto the runway at McConnell Air Force Base in the south part of Wichita. The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center located slightly more than an hour away from Doc in Hutchison, Kansas, rounded up Apollo 17 crew members and Lockheed SR-71 pilot Buz Carpenter to kickstart the Kickstarter effort.
"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," said Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell. Fellow Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise added, "... if you do not get these kind of projects done, history will frankly disappear, except on paper."
The group has 30 days to reach its goal.
“I would encourage all of you…to support at whatever level you can support, airplanes such as Doc that have such a wonderful legacy, and keep it alive,” said Carpenter, the former SR-71 pilot.
The largest portion of the amount needed, $70,000, is just for fuel and oil, followed by insurance that will cost $50,000.