WICHITA—It has been about 60 years since the B-29 Superfortress known as “Doc” flew for the last time. It will fly again soon.

On May 20, the team restoring the historic aircraft was awarded the FAA’s airworthiness certificate deeming the bomber airworthy. Flight is close at hand.

The FAA presented the certificate to the restoration crew at a ceremony attended by volunteers and supporters.

With the certificate in hand, the restoration team will now submit an official request to the Air Force and the Pentagon for access to use the non-joint-use runway at McConnell Air Force Base for flight test operations. The B-29 is on former Boeing Wichita property located adjacent to the base’s runway.

Once it receives approval, the crew will be able to use the runway for high-speed taxi texts and other ground testing necessary before first flight.

The certificate was awarded 16 years after the aircraft arrived from the Mojave Desert, where it had been rusting away and serving as a target for the Navy, in Wichita for restoration. It arrived May 23, 2000.

“It’s been nearly 60 years since Doc has flown and 16 years since this majestic warbird arrived in Wichita to be restored, and now we are another major milestone closer to a return to flight,” said Jim Murphy, Doc’s Friends Restoration Program Manager. “Today, we celebrate this major milestone and honor the hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer work that has gone into restoring our B-29 …. Today is (a) great day.”

The goal is to get the aircraft back in the air to serve as a flying memorial and museum to honor those who built and maintained the fleet and served the nation in the aircraft, said Jeff Turner, chairman of Doc’s Friends, the nonprofit organization restoring the vintage aircraft.

“The dream … just took a major step toward reality,” Turner said. “It’s because of Tony Mazzolini and hundreds of volunteers who have touched Doc along the way that we have reached this milestone. On behalf of the entire Doc’s Friends board, I thank you for all you have done.”

The warbird is one of 1644 B-29s built in Wichita during World War II. Doc rolled off the assembly line in March 1945. The aircraft became part of a squadron known as the Seven Dwarfs.