Engine Problem Forces Historic B-29 ‘Doc’ To Miss AirVenture Oshkosh

Volunteers move the B-29 known as Doc into place at its first visit to AirVenture Oshkosh in 2017.
Credit: Molly McMilin/Aviation Week

OSHKOSH, Wisconsin—The restored B-29 Superfortress known as “Doc” has paused its tour and will miss this year’s AirVenture Oshkosh after the historic warbird experienced trouble with one of its engines.

“Our maintenance team has spent the past two days inspecting and working on our warbird, and we are still not comfortable with the performance of one of the engines on the aircraft,” says Josh Wells, B-29 Doc executive director and general manager. In response, the team decided to pause its tour, remove the engine and ship it to the maintenance, repair and overhaul shop for a full inspection.

“We take the safe operation and meticulous maintenance of B-29 Doc very seriously, and stepping back to remove and replace the engine is the right thing to do,” Wells says.

The aircraft made it to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and will remain there while the maintenance team returns to Wichita, where the aircraft is based, to gather the items needed to remove and replace the engine. The timing of the operations depends upon travel and other logistics between Kansas and Michigan, Wells says.

Passengers scheduled for rides on Doc in Appleton, Wisconsin, during AirVenture will be notified and given refunds.

“I’m very proud of our flight crew and maintenance teams for their commitment to the safe operation of this historic warbird,” Wells says. “That commitment means if anyone on our team is uncomfortable with the performance of the aircraft, regardless of the mechanical system, we stop and assess the situation and take further action to ensure that Doc is 100% operational. It’s that laser-focused commitment to safety that will ensure we are able to operate this national treasure for years to come.”

The historic aircraft, part of a squadron of B-29s known as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, made its first appearance at AirVenture in 2017, following a restoration effort in Wichita that spanned more than a decade. The aircraft is one of only two B-29s flying.

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.


Recall the B-17 that crashed in Conn. a year or so ago was cited for poor engine maintenance.