Doc takes its first flight of 2019

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Doc, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, took its first flight of 2019 at its new facility near Eisenhower Airport Saturday, with the public on board to witness its history.

"It was quite an exciting trip," said John Spillane, a Vietnam veteran who flew in the plane.

Spillane said he came all the way from San Diego, California just for this. He said he's been on other military planes because he was an aircraft maintenance officer for the Army, but had never flown in a B-29.

"There's only two flyable B-29s in the world and this is one of them," Spillane said. "It's something I've always wanted to do so I came out to do this."

Six crew members and nine passengers go on the plane. There are seats in the front and back, and according to the executive director and general manager Doc's Friends, every seat is unique.

"You can see things from up front that you can't see in the back of the airplane," said Josh Wells. 

However, he says in the back of the airplane you can look through the eyes of a World War II gunner.

"You get to crawl back to the tail gunner's position, there's really not a bad seat in the airplane," he said.

Spillane said he took pictures and videos of the take-off and landing from the inside of the plane. When they got in the air he said he was able to walk around, and was able to sit in that gunner's seat in the back.

"On the side of the rear in the gunner's position you can, they go out 14 inches I was told, and you can stick your head there and you're not in the actual window, you can look straight down," he said.

The entire experience lasts about 90 minutes, including briefings and meeting the crew. The flight itself lasts about 30 minutes. Everyone waiting inside the hangar for their flight is encouraged to tour the museum on the second floor of the hangar.

"We want people to come in and see the airplane, touch the airplane, and see it in a unique way," he said.

He said the museum has artifacts from Docs and other B-29s, as well as videos and uniforms to educate people on the men and women who built the planes in Wichita. Wells said their main focus is for the visitors to understand a bigger picture.

"If we don't educate about the legacy of the greatest generation, then their legacy can't live on forever," Wells said. "That's really our most important mission here at Doc and what we do."