High Desert Memories - A Hometown Journal Commemorating Ridgecrest California
China Lake
Page 5
How do you move a B-29 over twenty miles in the desert?
  
Take it apart and truck it to the Boeing Plant in Wichita Kansas?

 
First you have to be very determined.  Especially when the price is a completely reconditioned B-25 in exchange.   . . . then you have to be prepared to jump through about 2000 hoops!! 

  Once you've done that then you have to move it to a place suitable for taking it apart
, find a lot of folks willing to volunteer their time, money, and efforts to accomplish a monumental task.
   Tony Mazzolini first saw "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" squadron of 8 B-29 Superfortress bombers at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York in the early 1950's.
The Air Force transferred "DOC" to China Lake in late 1956.  China Lake used several older airframes on their ranges as sitting targets.  "DOC" had been used 4 times and the missiles didn't strike their target.  The Navy had sent their other B-29's to scrap while "DOC" sat out on the ranges.  "DOC" was eventually moved back to the storage area and that is where Tony discovered it.  For more information and history of "DOC" visit the 
Boeing website
    It starts from a boneyard similar to the one above**. 
Note**This is not China Lakes boneyard.
  First its necessary to protect all of the components that might be damaged by obstructions or other contact.  On the inside it is necessary to secure everything that is not firmly attached so it won't move around.  There is some bumpy road ahead and you want to minimize any damage possible.
  You obtain a couple of pieces of heavy equipment suitable for pulling an aircraft.  The vehicle with tires appears to be frontloader but when the sand gets deep and soft a caterpillar was used.  (See Below on Highway)
  You pull that aircraft across 20 miles of desert to get to the place where you plan to dismantle and load it on trucks.  Environmentalists interested in minimizing damage to the desert are along to assist. 
  On the left we see that the tow vehicle has been changed to the caterpillar to provide traction for moving the big bird!!  To avoid damaging the aircrafts structure the tow speed is very slow.  People are very watchful to be sure that the landing gear doesn't fall into deep ruts or other obstructions.  These must be bridged or removed along the way.  Personnel walk with the wings to be sure that they stay clear of obstructions.
  Here we see a much larger crew taking part in putting old tires under the Cats tracks to avoid damaging the highway.  The line in front drops the tires under the treads and the folks behind pick them up and bring them forward if necessary to be placed under the tracks again.  Until the highway is crossed. 
  Once the aircraft reaches the disassembly/loading point it must painstakingly be disassembled.  The wings, landing gear, and all removable components are removed and shipped separately.  The major portions of the structure are then craned onto properly padded truck trailers where  special adapters are used to to keep the load stable during transportation.  For further details about DOC's trip to Boeing and the continuing restoration vist the  Boeing website .
 
"Doc" the B-29
Here are some views of Doc on the way to Boeings Kansas City facility and how Doc looked in the hangar before the long task of getting it ready for reassembly.
The three views here are courtesy of the Boeing Aircraft Corp at the Doc Restoration Website
Select a page number above
to move from page to page
Select a page number above
to move from page to page
   In 1960 I worked at the machine shop out at the airfield.  During one lunchtime a friend and co-worker named Bruce, a gifted and inventive machinist, and I went out on his motorcycle to where the B29s were parked.  We studied the engines closely and, I am looking for just the right words here, “selected for a return to active duty” one of the engine’s fuel injector units.  It was designed with nine injectors and we figured out a way to modify it so that it would have eight injectors. And we also talked about how we might mount it on the front of an automobile engine; you see where we are going here. The injector unit was of a very complex design, o-rings and a lot of parts, and by the time we got it back together, minus a lot of these parts, it would hardly squirt water.  A fun learning experience.

Daniel Hanne
(58)
___________________________________________________
   Long after I finished this page this little story came waltzing in and I couldn't figure out a better place to put it.
. 1 & 2  -  In the beginning
   3        -  Naval Air Facility
   4        -  The Ranges
   5   -        Doc the B-29
   6   -        NAWC Museum
. 1 & 2  -  In the beginning
   3        -  Naval Air Facility
   4        -  The Ranges
   5   -        Doc the B-29
   6   -       NAWC Museum
|_1_|_2_|_3_|_4_|_5_|_6_|_7_|_8_|_9_|_10_|
    7   -        The Sidewinder
    8    -     
Weather
  
9    -      60 Year FED service
   10  -      
China Lake named
                  National Historic site
|_1_|_2_|_3_|_4_|_5_|_6_|_7_|_8_|_9_|_10_|
    7   -        The Sidewinder
    8    -      
Weather
  
9    -      60 Year FED service
   10  -      
China Lake named
                  National Historic site