“Doc” flies above Wichita area saluting community members fighting coronavirus

At 10 a.m. , the tankers and “Doc “flew over hundreds of people after being cleaned up at the McConnell Air Force Base.


Photo by Piper Pinnetti

Jackson Jurden, Maize South Elementary student, plays with his “Doc” B-29 toy his mother bought for him at the reveal of the bomber Superfortress over west Wichita.

Piper Pinnetti, Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday, May 6, three tankers from McConnell Air Force Base and a World War II Bomber made their way over areas in Wichita to salute essential personnel, military, healthcare workers, and others who are fighting through the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

Aircrafts joining the brigade were the KC-46 Pegasus, two KC-135 Stratotankers, and following them was “Doc,” the B-29  Superfortress plane.

Doc is one of 1,644 other Superfortresses built during WWII. In 1987, Tony Mazzolini discovered the warbird rotting away in the Mojave Desert after it had been shot down in the war, the plane was saved and restored.

The aircrafts flew over multiple hospitals, major highways and through Wichita, El Dorado, Andover and Newton. The event started at roughly 10 a.m. and lasted about 40 minutes after.

Photo by Piper Pinnetti
“Doc” flies past the Wesley Medical Center on its course back to the McConnell Air Force Base.

At roughly 11 a.m., Doc separated from the other aircrafts momentarily and was spotted above a Dunkin’ Donuts on West street.

Robbie Grote, former Maize South student and currently a junior at Complete High School, had previously worked on the historical aircraft in March of 2019 during its recovery.

“I assisted the crew members with heavy lifting, cleaning and helped change the engine oil a lot,” Grote said. “I’m extremely proud to say I’ve contributed to the plane. I’m happy it’s still flying after everything it’s been through.”

Grote is not the only person hyped for the flight. Jackson Jurden, a fifth grader at Maize South Elementary, was over the clouds for the aerial performance.

“It was super cool,” Jurden said. “He looks awesome when he’s in the air and with the Air Force symbol on it’s wing.”