Restoration work begins on Albuquerque B-29 bomber

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque museum is restoring a a rare bomber that helped finish World War II.

“I just have to be very blunt. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my career,” said Restoration Coordinator Jerry Hanks.

Hanks served in the Marine Corps. He also worked at Sandia Labs, but he told KRQE News 13 his time at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque is where he feels he’s made the biggest difference.

“It’s a piece of history that will stay forever,” said Hanks.

Hanks is talking about the B-29 bomber at the museum.

The Superfortress is the same model that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

“On the planet there are only 17 left,” said Hanks.

That’s why earlier this year the museum set out to restore the rare aircraft. It raised more than $40,000 dollars for the project.

“It should be a very nice looking display,” said Hanks.

On Sunday, a group of volunteers sanded 70-year-old wood and stained it.

Meanwhile, a pair of professional painters coated the plane’s wings.

“After the final paint goes on then we have got another huge project of putting all of the artwork and lettering on the airplane,” said Hanks.

After that the lights will be installed.

“We will have lights in the cockpit and lights in the tail gunner section. We will have it fully lit up in the cockpit even have a video game in front of the B-29 for the little kids to play,” he said.

It’s all in an effort to bring a historical piece back to life.

“It has been a very long, long process and the most rewarding one we have ever done,” said Hanks.

About 50 volunteers have pitched in on the restoration project.

They’ve clocked more than 2,000 hours.

The project is expected to finish up in early August.

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