Taxi Test A Milestone For B-29 Doc


Puttering slowly across the tarmac, with only two of its four big engines slowly turning, might not seem like much of a feat for a B-29, but for Wichita’s “Doc,” it was a milestone — the low-speed taxi test was the first time in 60 years the airplane moved under its own power. The test took place last week in Wichita, as the restoration team continues to work toward first flight. Doc traveled about a half mile during the test at speeds up to 10 mph, and the crew was able to successfully check the brakes and the turning mechanisms, according to Doc’s Friends, the nonprofit group that is restoring the airplane.

Josh Wells, spokesman for Doc’s Friends, told the Wichita Eagle about a dozen volunteers were on hand to witness the taxi test. “When it first moved 6 inches, those guys were … unbelievably proud,” he said, adding that there were “a lot of hugs, a lot of tears.” The restoration project leaders say they are continuing to work with the FAA on receiving an airworthiness certificate and expect to have it soon. The next step after that will be to submit a request to the U.S. Air Force and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., to be granted access to the non-joint-use runway at McConnell Air Force Base, in Wichita, for flight-test operations.