A World War II era Boeing B-29 Superfortress called “Doc” landed at Hastings Municipal Airport Saturday for the Nebraska State Fly-In & Airshow.
The large craft is one of only two such B-29s still airworthy in the world.
There were 1,644 manufactured in Wichita, Kan., during World War II, according to “Doc’s Friends”, a nonprofit managing the operation of the plane.
“Doc” wasn’t the only special guest of the day.
A Grumman C-1A trader, which was docked on the U.S.S. Independence, is piloted by Doug Goss of Topeka, Kan.
“Miss Belle” is the only one of its kind left flying.
“They only made 87, and that’s the one that’s airworthy,” Goss said.
The wings fold so it can be lowered into the U.S. Navy ship and stored.
Goss is glad to participate in the weekend’s event.
“We’re glad to be here. We’re glad to have an invite. That’s how we support that airplane,” he said.
Airport Advisory Board member Matt Kuhr called the event “a dream of mine.”
“This is something I wanted to be able to bring to Hastings since I moved here years ago,” Kuhr said. “I just took over the (fixed based operator) in November, and since then we were able to get this secured for the state fly-in and try to build up aviation in Hastings.”
Hastings Municipal Airport last hosted the state air show in 2005.
In 2019, the airport hosted the Experimental Aircraft Association trimotor event.
The arrival of the superfortress is a special treat for the Hastings community, Kuhr said.
“I’m excited to let people see it and see history in our airport,” he said.
Readying to host the World War II aircraft took much work and coordination, Kuhr said.
“Normally, it goes to a lot of bigger airports,” he said. “It does hit some smaller bluffs. I think Scottsbluff later this year will get the only other one, which is Fifi. We’re the only one I believe that gets this, unless it goes to Lincoln later.”
Hastings Council Member Ted Schroeder, the city liaison for the airport, called the visiting B-29 a great honor for the city.
Originally, a B-17 was scheduled, but it couldn’t make it.
“We lucked out to get Doc because an Oklahoma show canceled and we got coordinated with them to bring Doc here to Hastings instead,” Schroeder said.
Such events are important, he said.
“Our whole Tri-City area is fantastic,” Schroeder said. “Hastings is trying really hard. We had a rodeo this weekend. A bike tour coming through here. There’s numerous events besides this. We’re full with events this weekend.”
Activities continue today at Hastings Municipal Airport.
At noon, a ping-pong ball drop from the sky will be held for kids, followed by a patriotic parachute drop.
An air display will feature eight nationally acclaimed air show performers, including the T-6 Radial Rubmel and the Taylorcraft flying comedy show.
For more information, visit www.flyhastings.com/events/2021/6/20/7mkls65i6y0lgrnll42snya6gmrw0a.