HomeNewsArticle Display

Grandson of Enola Gay pilot flies refurbished B-29

Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets IV, 509th Bomb Wing commander, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., conducts pre-flight checks on Doc, a restored B-29 Superfortress, June 9, 2017, on McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Tibbets’ grandfather, retired Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets Jr., piloted the ‘Enola Gay,’ during WWII and dropped the world’s first atomic bomb used in warfare. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tara Fadenrecht)

Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets IV, the 509th Bomb Wing commander from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., conducts pre-flight checks on Doc, a restored B-29 Superfortress, June 9, 2017, on McConnell AFB, Kan. Tibbets IV’ grandfather, retired Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets Jr., piloted the ‘Enola Gay,’ during World War II and dropped the world’s first atomic bomb used in warfare. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tara Fadenrecht)

Mark Novak, left, a B-29 Superfortress pilot and Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets IV, 509th Bomb Wing commander, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., pose for a photo inside Doc, a restored B-29 Superfortress, June 9, 2017, on McConnell AFB, Kan. Tibbets’ grandfather, retired Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets Jr., piloted the B-29 during WWII. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tara Fadenrecht)

Mark Novak, left, a B-29 Superfortress pilot and Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets IV, right, the 509th Bomb Wing commander from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., pose for a photo inside Doc, a restored B-29 Superfortress, June 9, 2017, on McConnell AFB, Kan. TibbetsIV’ grandfather, retired Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets Jr., piloted the B-29 during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tara Fadenrecht)

Doc, a restored B-29 Superfortress, takes-off June 9, 2017, from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets IV, 509th Bomb Wing commander, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., co-piloted Doc, during this flight. Tibbets piloted the aircraft to Whiteman AFB for an airshow. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Rachel Waller)

Doc, a restored B-29 Superfortress, takes off June 9, 2017, from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets IV, the 509th Bomb Wing commander from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., co-piloted Doc, during this flight. Tibbets IV piloted the aircraft to Whiteman AFB for an airshow. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Rachel Waller)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. (AFNS) -- Wichita’s beloved B-29 Superfortress, Doc, took to the skies yet again June 9, 2017, from McConnell Air Force Base, this time with an added aspect of historical significance and Air Force heritage.

Sitting in the co-pilot seat was Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets IV, the 509th Bomb Wing commander. Taking control of the aircraft means he has now flown the only two currently operational B-29s, Doc and Fifi.

In 1998, Tibbets IV, flew Fifi with his grandfather, retired Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets Jr., who piloted the B-29 Enola Gay when the aircraft and its crew dropped an atomic bomb on Japan, helping end World War II.

“The only time I ever flew with my grandfather was with Fifi,” said Tibbets IV. “He had given up aviation and had not flown in any aircraft in a very long time. He and I got to fly Fifi together, which was awesome. It was a great opportunity for me to be with him.”

Now, 72 years after the historic WWII mission and nearly 10 years after the passing of his grandfather, Tibbets IV, who is traditionally a B-1 Lancer pilot and currently a B-2 Spirit pilot, once again boarded a B-29 to honor his grandfather.

“It’s really about upholding the legacy of those who have come before,” he said. “When we have the opportunity to embrace that kind of heritage and that kind of history, it’s a real privilege and an honor.”

Before the flight, Doc’s pilot, Mark Novak, described the significance of having Tibbets IV on board.

“Doc is a piece of history, and the Tibbets name is historic because anyone who knows WWII knows about the general’s grandfather, Paul Tibbets Jr.,” said Novak. “I’ve known (Tibbets IV) for years and we’ll each get a turn to fly. It’ll be a great time to chat and catch up over our hour-long flight.”

Tibbets IV emphasized his appreciation for the time and effort the volunteers put into restoring Doc and bringing this piece of history back to life.

“When you think about Doc and you think about Fifi and all these warbirds that we have, they’re labors of love,” he said. “We’re excited for (the volunteers), and their continued work. They’re going to get to educate tens of thousands of people about the B-29 because they poured their heart and souls into this airplane. This helps us connect those that are here today to those that have come before us, and how important it is to understand what they did for us. This is what changed the world.”

The flight took Doc to Whiteman AFB, Missouri to be part of the Wings Over Whiteman Airshow and open house June 10th and 11th, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Air Force.

Engage

Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Everyone wants to make their mark on the world. But why make just one? https://t.co/g1iX4pzU9b
Twitter
10 years have passed since #DontAskDontTell was repealed. @UnderSecAF Gina Ortiz Jones celebrated the milestone by… https://t.co/i1kTNvykzM
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: It’s going to take all of our Airmen, Active-duty, Reserve and Guard to secure this nation’s future. https://t.co/4P3CUiQ…
Twitter
RT @UnderSecAF: A few years ago, only two small businesses joined us at AFA--this year we have 40+. @AFWERX works with these companies ever…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF is meeting with defense industry leaders today during the @AirForceAssoc’s #ASC21 events. In his #OneTeamOneFigh
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Our rate of change needs to increase. We must move with a sense of urgency today in order to rise to the challenges of to…
Twitter
.@AETCommand is working to remove barriers in the pilot candidate selection process. Learn more about the changes… https://t.co/ANcqVRdsNz
Twitter
.@UnderSecAF Gina Ortiz Jones spoke on the anniversary of DADT... https://t.co/zZYqHOTp8V
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: "We are in a national, strategic, long-term contest with a formidable adversary and what you do every day is important t…
Twitter
"We must move with a sense of urgency today in order to rise to the challenges of tomorrow. Because the return to s… https://t.co/yeYvmOaOos
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Our collaboration with industry is integral to ensuring we are able to compete, deter and win tomorrow against peer adver…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Impossible ends with you. https://t.co/e6ebHtvBDg
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF Kendall addressed the @AirForceAssoc's Air, Space & Cyber Conference earlier today: "I intend to be relentless in…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF Kendall just finished addressing the @AirForceAssoc's Air, Space & Cyber Conference. The topics he spoke on includ…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,377,161
Follow Us