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Doc Receives Official Airworthiness Certificate

By Barbara A. Schmitz

July 26, 2017 - It was just one little piece of paper — but it was so much more.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta presented the B-29 Superfortress Doc its official airworthiness certificate during a short ceremony on Boeing Plaza Wednesday.

Michael said it was a privilege to work with the team of volunteers, whose hard work helped the B-29 to fly again. He also recognized Tony Mazzolini for his efforts in restoring the historic plane, which spent 42 years in the Mojave Desert as a U.S. Navy target.

Tony found Doc in 1987, took possession of Doc in 1998, and began restoration in 2000. He said finishing the airplane and receiving its FAA airworthiness certificate has been his lifelong dream.

“It’s quite an honor,” Tony said Wednesday. “It’s the pinnacle of my career — and my life. I need to thank my family and all the volunteers who made this happen. Some drove 25 or 30 miles each day to help; I think it helped fill a void in their retirement.”

While hundreds of people worked on plane repairs, a core group of 75 did most of the renovation. One of those volunteers was Connie Palacioz, who dressed as Rosie the Riveter on Wednesday, in homage to the job she held at the Boeing-Wichita assembly line in 1945.

“When I read the airplane was being restored, I knew I had to help,” said the 92-year-old who lives about 30 miles from Wichita. “And I’m proud to say that after all those years, only seven of my original rivets were missing.”

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