MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. - As a child, he spent countless
hours drawing aircraft from his World War II book collection,
daydreaming what it would like to be inside of one.
adult and veteran of 19 years, his aircraft dreams are still alive
and even more vivid. Now, he spends much of his free time restoring
one of the last flyable B-29 Superfortresses.
Geoffrey Jensen, 22nd Maintenance Group logistic resource management
program NCO in charge, became a volunteer for Friends of Doc
restoration project in March and has been hooked on helping ever
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Geoffrey Jensen, 22nd Maintenance
Group logistic resource management program NCO in charge, stands in
front of Doc, a B-29 Superfortress, July 22, 2014, inside a Boeing
hangar, in Wichita, Kansas. Jensen joined a volunteer group, Friends
of Doc, which is restoring the aircraft to flying condition. (U.S.
Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier)
Doc, a B-29 named after a character from the fairytale
"Snow White," was originally built in Wichita during World
War II. It has been parked inside a Boeing hangar next to
McConnell, close enough for Jensen to do a little work
during his lunch break, something he does frequently.
“It's like bringing history to life,” said Jensen.
“There are a lot of people who have never even heard of this
airplane. It's the same model that dropped the atomic bomb
and ended World War II, and it's so cool that I get to be a
part of that.”
Working on an aircraft is nothing new
to Jensen. He was a flightline crew chief for 18 years and
has brought all of his experience with him to aid the
restoration project, however, he's not the only one with
“We've got a large number of
veterans helping out here, including a 95-year-old,” said TJ
Norman, volunteer manager. “It's so nice having these Air
Force guys over here, because all I have to do is show them
what project we are working on and they know exactly what to
The aircraft is being pieced together to
resemble its original image with a few modifications for
increased safety. Jensen has helped to implement modern
avionics technologies while trying to maintain the
Jensen's enthusiasm for the
restoration project has spread to other members in his
family as well. His wife is helping to manage operational
aspects of Project Doc and even his father has joined him on
a few occasions.
“When my dad helped me install the
pilot seat, he said that it was one of the best days he's
ever had, because he was able to help restore it and we
worked on it together,” said Jensen.
restoration in Wichita began 14 years ago and the airplane
has been grounded for more than 50 years.
our sponsors and the support we've had from the volunteers
like ‘Jeff,' we're on track and expecting to do our first
test flight late October or early November,” said Norman.
While Jensen has spent his entire Air Force career
working on the maintenance side of flying operations, he is
aiming to become a part of Doc's aircrew after he retires in
April next year.
“We want to try to get him in as a
flight engineer, which is the most important job on this
airplane,” said Norman.
Out of the six crew members,
which are needed to fly a B-29, the flight engineer is
responsible for controlling the throttles, monitoring
engines and fuel and more.
The volunteers, otherwise
known as Friends of Doc, still have a lot of work to do in
order for the B-29 to take flight again. Still, Jensen is
honored to be a part of the effort of bringing history to
“I'm trying to do as much work as I can on it,”
said Jensen. “It's a huge, prideful thing to do. This truly
is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
By U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
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