Rescued from a desert bombing range then painstakingly restored over many years, the B-29 Superfortress Doc brought vintage strategic air power to EAA AirVenture in July. Doc and crew flew away from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with the “Best Bomber Award,” among others, returning home to temporary quarters as Doc’s Friends Inc., pass the hat to build a permanent home for the beloved bomber in Wichita, Kansas.
The organization launched an online fundraising campaign with a Sept. 16 deadline and an all-or-nothing goal of raising $100,000 to help pay for construction of a hangar that will serve double duty as learning center and maintenance shop. Doc’s Friends have so far raised more than $4.5 million toward an estimated $6.5 million needed to complete construction of a 32,000-square-foot facility.
Doc has many friends, and the funds raised to date have come from both individuals and corporations, including proceeds from the sale of engraved memorial bricks and paving stones.
Doc’s Friends struck a deal with the city and the Wichita Airport Authority for a long-term lease of property on the grounds of Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. The plan calls for construction to begin later this year and to be completed in 2018.
“Having a permanent home for Doc means preserving what our team of dedicated volunteers has spent the last 17 years working 350,000-plus hours to achieve,” said Jim Murphy, Doc’s Friends program director, in a July blog post announcing the public phase of the fundraising campaign. “Today’s announcement is just another step toward ensuring we never forget the importance of the B-29 in our nation’s history and the heroes who designed, built, flew, maintained and then restored this piece of history.”