The Air Zoo will be buzzing with excitement this weekend. Kicking off the line-up of 2021 summer fly-ins, the B-29 Superfortress “Doc” will be onsite at the Flight Discovery Center from Friday-Sunday. On Saturday, the community is also invited to participate in the Air Zoo’s free community STEAM Day, weather permitting, from 11am-3pm.
B-29 Superfortress “Doc”
“Doc,” one of two airworthy WWII B-29 bombers left in the world, will be flying into the Air Zoo’s Flight Discovery Center on Thursday, July 22nd between 4 and 5pm. The media is encouraged to arrive at 4pm Thursday afternoon for arrival and VIP access to the Superfortress and crew.
Ground and flight deck tours as well as rides are available for purchase Friday, Saturday, and Sunday July 23rd-25th. Onlookers can enjoy and take photos from the FDC’s courtyard at no cost. Admission for the ground and cockpit tours will be $10 per person or $20 per family. Rides range from $600-$1500 each.
Each B-29 “Doc” Flight Experience will last approximately 90 minutes and include a 30-minute ride. Prior to takeoff, passengers will experience a crew briefing and learn more about the history of the B-29 and the role it played in U.S. history. Passengers will also get to hear and see the sights and sounds of engine starts and run-ups prior to takeoff. A schedule of flights and tours can be found on the Air Zoo’s website as well as links to booking your B-29 Flight Experience.
This B-29 Superfortress is one of 1,644 manufactured in Wichita during World War II. Since 1987 when Tony Mazzolini found Doc sitting and rotting away in the Mojave Desert, the mission has been to restore and operate this historic warbird as a flying museum. Over the past 15+ years, skilled workers and retirees from Wichita’s aviation industry, veterans, active-duty military, and others wanting to honor those who served, have spent tens of thousands of hours on Doc’s restoration and upkeep. Countless individuals and organizations also made financial and in-kind contributions to keep the project going.
Saturday STEAM Day Event
The community, and beyond, is invited to come explore science this Saturday, at the Air Zoo’s July STEAM Day event. Activities will feature engineering and space themed stations, led by Air Zoo educators, corporate sponsors, and the 2021 Science Innovation Hall of Fame Awardees. This event is in partnership with the Society of Women Engineers (postponed from the rained-out June event).
The event will kick off at 11am and is free to everyone. Participants will enjoy a variety of activity tables, sponsor giveaways, toy demonstrations, chalking, tie-dyeing and more! Air Zoo educators will guide young engineers through building and testing catapults, designing and testing rockets, and creating constellation telescopes to take home! Several of the SWE Corporate Engineering Challenge sponsors will be instructing and guiding families on other exciting take home activities.
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) will be hosting a special tie-dying station, available to all who join. SWE Corporate Engineering Challenge participants are encouraged to bring their previously issued 2021 Challenge shirts and guests are welcome to bring their own white t-shirt from home or purchase one for $5 through the Air Zoo’s Fly Buy Gift Shop, while supplies last.
Participants can shop at the Fly Buy’s STEAM themed booth outdoors or visit the store inside for a huge assortment of space, aviation and STEAM based options. Local organizations, clubs and corporations will have activities and giveaways for attendees as well. Full details and updates can be found at: https://www.airzoo.org/steam-days. Mark your calendars for the final STEAM Day aviation themed event – August 21st.
The Air Zoo’s Flight Innovation and Flight Discovery Center’s galleries and new 2020-2021 exhibits, including their traveling exhibit Be the Astronaut, will also be open. See Plan Your Visit for general admission rates and safety policies and procedures. The Air Zoo is a proud participant in the national Museums for All program, which offers families that have qualified for EBT*/WIC assistance admission to the center for only $2/person age 5+. Kids 4 and under are always free!
*P-EBT cards are not accepted for discount.
Doc’s Friends is a 501c3 nonprofit board managing the operation of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress known as Doc. The group was formed in 2013 and is led by retired Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner along with other Wichita business and community leaders: Charlie Chandler, Jack Pelton, Steve Clark, Lynn Nichols, Brad Gorsuch, Ron Ryan, Tim Buchanan, Jeff Peier, Esq., Mark Paolucci, Tony Mazzolini, Jim Murphy, Sam Frey, Scott Flemming and Josh Wells.
Doc’s Friends is committed to supporting this World War II warbird flying to honor previous generations, educate current and future generations and connect the world to the rich heritage of aviation.
Society of Women Engineers & the Corporate Engineering Challenge
This annual event is open to girls ages 9-12 and is designed to introduce young girls to engineering concepts through hands-on activities and talks with local female engineers. Thanks to the support of corporate sponsors, this event is free to the participants.
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a not-for-profit educational and service organization that empowers females of all ages to succeed and advance in the field of engineering and be recognized for their life‐changing contributions as engineers and leaders. Although they make up more than half the population, in 2012, only 19.2% of Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering were presented to women (NSF, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Completions Survey, 2002‐2012). Determined to improve these statistics, SWE oﬀers an array of outreach activities to inspire girls to explore careers in engineering or other technical fields.