- The US Navy Blue Angels flew in formation with a historic B-29 Superfortress, a 1940s era bomber and one of just two B-29s that are currently able to still fly
- The flights were practice runs in preparation for this past weekend’s appearance at the California Capital Airshow in Sacramento
- The B-29 Superfortress pictured flew noncombat missions and was left abandoned for 30 years in the Mojave Desert before aviation enthusiasts restored it
The US Navy Blue Angels, the world’s second oldest flight demonstration team, put on a spectacular display over the skies of Sacramento on Friday as they flew practice runs with a historic B-29 superfortress before this weekend’s California Capital Airshow.
The famous squadron returned to Sacramento for just the second time since 2008.
The pilots of the F/A-18 Hornets dazzled the audience, flying just 18 inches apart at some moments during their formation.
Prior to the air show, the Blue Angels did practice drills with a B-29 Superfortress, the historic 1940s era bomber that is one of just two remaining models that can still fly.
The plane was called ‘Doc’ because it was assigned to the Radar Calibration squadron known as ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.’
In the Disney story, Doc is the leader of the Seven Dwarfs.
The plane was left idle in California’s Mojave Desert, where local animals took shelter in its fuselage.
But Tony Mazzolini, a former B-29 flight engineer, decided to start the process of salvaging the bomber.
Hundreds of volunteers, including skilled retirees from Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, veterans, and active duty military service members, worked to restore the bomber.
It took more than 15 years to turn Doc into a functioning airplane that offers educational rides to aviation enthusiasts.
Doc tours the United States as part of a mission to keep alive the memory of World War Two-era warbirds.
‘That’s the special thing about touring with a B-29 is running into B-29 Veterans,’ Josh Wells, the general manager of Doc’s Friends, told KPNX-TV.
‘Some of them cry with joy. They’re just overcome with emotion and they tell us their stories.
‘That really is the magical part about touring with Doc and the reason why we restored the airplane.’