ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The B-29 bomber, also known as the Super Fortress, is most commonly known as one of the planes that dropped the bombs on Japan, ending World War II. Today only two B-29s are still flying. One is known as ‘Fifi’ and the other as ‘Doc’. Early Friday afternoon, ‘Doc’ made its triumphant landing at Abilene Aero.

“We like to say we’ve got the greatest job on the planet. Flying a B-29 around the country. Honoring the men and women who served and continue to serve. And of course to tell the story of the greatest generation,” said ‘Doc’ Executive Director Josh Wells.

Before coming out of retirement, ‘Doc’ spent post-war years in a California desert, sitting for 44 years on a Navy bombing range. The craft was brought back into the skies through the tireless work of the crew that now operates it.

“We spent 16 years and 450,000 volunteer hours putting this airplane back together” Wells explained.

From tip to tail, ‘Doc’ is an authentic restoration of a WWII-era bomber, with all parts functioning just as they did before being retired in 1956.

“Everybody always asks me what it flies like. And I say it flies like a pickup truck on a gravel road,” Said Aircraft Commander and ‘Doc’s’ Chief Pilot Mark Novak.

With no onboard computers, at least by modern standards, a crew of six is needed to keep ‘Doc’ in the sky. Each one manning a portion of the craft so that Novak can focus on the heavy lifting… literally.

Pilot Mark Novak

“I had a guy ask me. Why do I do bench press? And it’s because I’ve gotta push back and forwards on this yoke and it’s 45-50 pounds,” Novak explained.

Wells said many onlookers get to have a firsthand encounter with a craft their parents or grandparents may have told stories about for generations.

“We have run into Rosie the riveters that actually put rivets in this airplane. We’ve met B-29 family members who’ve had family members that served in the B-29… Hearing those stories and watching them get up inside their grandpas or their fathers’ seat is just. It’s almost overwhelming for the crew,” Wells expressed.

One such story can be found here in Abilene. Mr. Earl Zimmerle got up close and personal with the same kind of craft he worked on more than 70 years ago.

“I just got out of high school and went to work in civil service… I enjoyed working on them. I didn’t realize what it was at the time but… Well, we couldn’t have won the war without them,” Zimmerle said.

This kind of reaction, is just the thing Wells said they hope to inspire in everyone that gets a good look at ‘Doc’.

“If we inspire just one person… We’ve done our job,” Wells added.

‘Doc’ will be on display at Abilene Aero from Friday, April 21, through Sunday, April 23. Ground and flight deck tours are available as well as ride flights for a fee. Visit the Abilene Aero website to see scheduling and tickets.