'Doc' And Connie Prepare For Flight

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Columbine II Constellation.

Doc, the B-29 restoration project that was forced outside over the winter due to a lack of hangar space in Wichita, now is back under a roof, Josh Wells, a member of Doc's Friends, told AVweb this week. "Last week we were able to reach an agreement on a tentative plan for hangar space at the same location where we've been restoring the plane," Wells said. It's a temporary solution, he said, but at least will protect the airplane from unpredictable spring weather. He added that the team is working with the FAA to verify the airplane is airworthy, and they are waiting for sustained outside temperatures of at least 50 degrees before running the engine tests.

"We're also awaiting permission from Washington, D.C., to allow us to use a non-joint-use active military airfield as an operating base for test flights," Wells said. "A few other details we are working to confirm are the logistics of getting the qualified B-29 crew in Wichita to conduct preliminary ground operations and ultimately flight testing." No date has been set for the first flight. "We must be satisfied that Doc is airworthy, and the FAA also must satisfied that Doc is airworthy," Wells said. Also in the works are two projects with Constellation airplanes, both hoping to return the aircraft to flight.

At Marana Regional Airport, near Tucson, Arizona, a team from Dynamic Aviation is preparing to fly Columbine II to their company headquarters in Bridgewater, Virginia, early next month. The Lockheed Constellation first flew in 1948 for the U.S. Air Force, and later was used by President Dwight Eisenhower, then flew for Pan Am and later returned to the Air Force. Dynamic Aviation bought the airplane last year with the goal to restore it to flying condition. Once the restoration is complete, the company says it expects the airplane will be transferred to a nonprofit museum and will fly at airshows. Meanwhile, work by Lufthansa on a Connie in Maine has slowed down, but is still underway, according to ConnieSurvivors.com. If progress continues at the slow and steady rate, the airplane should be ready to fly in another two years, according to the website.