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‘Beach City Baby’ Flies! – WWII Combat Vet C-53 Airborne Again

'Beach City Baby' Flies! - WWII Combat Vet C-53 Airborne Again
Jason Capra grinning from the fitting seat in Seashore City Child on the fight veteran C-53’s ferry flight from Seashore City, Ohio to her new house in Franklin, Pennsylvania. Following her first flight, the plane will now start a marathon effort to convey her again to genuine wartime configuration. (photograph by Greg Morehead)

A historic, fight-veteran Douglas C-53 Skytrooper (41-20095) took to the skies once more for the primary time in a number of many years in Seashore City, Ohio on Saturday October sixth, 2018 following a exceptional three-yr effort by Jason Capra and his workforce of volunteers at Classic Wings Inc. We have been there on the bottom and within the air with Warbird Digest’s very personal Greg Morehead, whom provided us with a few of the lovely pictures of her first flight herein. We now have been following this venture since shortly after it began. Jason Capra has offered us (under) with a pleasant abstract of Classic Wings efforts to date, and what the plans at the moment are for her future…

The Story of Seashore City Child, Restoration Replace

by Jason Capra

Three years in the past, Classic Wings, Inc. President & Founder Jason Capra was driving via Ohio and stumbled upon what seemed to be an deserted Douglas C-53DO Skytrooper at a grass airfield in Seashore City, Ohio. Most who handed by this massive warbird in a small subject by no means gave a lot considered what she had accomplished in her previous.   Some who knew the importance of a DC-three would cease by and take pictures, however avid historic aviation fanatic and pilot Jason Capra knew one thing wanted to be completed, and quick. He took down the tail quantity, started researching and found a tremendous historical past. He got here to seek out that not solely was she a storied struggle veteran that served within the European and Mediterranean theater for your complete period of World Struggle II, she additionally had a tremendous submit-struggle historical past.  

With Development beginning in late 1941, Classic Wings Inc.’s Douglas C-53DO Skytrooper was on the manufacturing unit flooring in Santa Monica, California when Pearl Harbor was attacked and was accepted by the Military Air Corps weeks later in January 1942 and despatched to Bolling Subject, Washington DC. The plane was then assigned to the Military Air Corps Ferry Command shortly thereafter the place it flew beneath the command of pilots from “Northeast Airlines” as on the time military pilots have been briefly provide. “Beach City Baby” flew a number of the very first survey routes and ferry flights to and from England laying the bottom work for what would turn into often known as the North Atlantic Routes utilized by hundreds of plane to ship provides and personnel to England.

A wartime shot of Seashore City Child in her Northeast Airways colours. (photograph by way of Classic Wings Inc.)

In July 1942, it was then transferred to the North Atlantic Wing of the Air Transport Command the place she shuttled troops and VIPs over many theaters of operation. In November 1942 “Beach City Baby” was then transferred to North Africa to fly with the North African ATC Wing the place it supported the conflict towards the Germans and ultimately happened within the Invasion of Sicily and Italy. The plane was final assigned to FEA, Cairo Division till Might 12th, 1945.

After flying for Danish Airways and SAS, instantly after the conflict, the airplane turned recognized in Ohio as “Buckeye One,” the Governor of Ohio’s plane. Governor James Rhodes organized to buy this historic plane in 1964 not solely as official transportation of the State of Ohio, but in addition as an outreach and platform for improvement of Common Aviation in his state.  This specific DC-three had apparently completed all of it. 

With the invention of such an necessary and historic plane, Jason started to collect a gaggle of like-minded aviation professionals and fanatics with the objective of saving this plane from succumbing to the weather and ravages of time. He shaped the non-revenue “Vintage Wings Inc” and commenced negotiations with the proprietor to buy her. A deal was struck and through the subsequent yr, the newly shaped group constructed up a robust and gifted membership and the method of fundraising started. When the fundraising and consciousness packages started to point out actual outcomes, the proprietor agreed to permit the workforce to start restoration and preservation efforts whereas the rest of the funds to finalize the acquisition have been secured.   After being left outside for therefore lengthy, it was essential for the staff to start work instantly to stop additional injury. 

Quick ahead to February of 2017 and the “Save Beach City Baby” marketing campaign was profitable and Douglas DC-three/C-53 41-20095 turned property of Classic Wings, Inc. Whereas that extremely difficult aim has been met, her security was removed from assured as she remained outdoors and too huge for any hangar on the small airfield. The method of getting her airworthy was accelerated and a deal was made on the Franklin-Venango Regional Airport in Western Pennsylvania for a local weather-managed hangar for her full restoration and protected storage into the longer term whereas partnering with the native EAA Chapter.

After working for a mean of two days every week since February 2017 in all forms of climate and temperatures in an open subject in rural Ohio, Classic Wings Inc. with the assistance of native EAA Sport Aviation Chapter 988 of Franklin was capable of resurrect this sleeping warbird again to life. Hundreds of man hours, dollars, and blood sweat and tears later the 1942 Douglas C-53 was lastly able to take flight to her new residence in Franklin. Having just lately accomplished many engine runs and taxi check, the Federal Aviation Administration had given “Beach City Baby” the go for her first flight in virtually 25 years with its first vacation spot being the location of its new house, Franklin – Venango Regional Airport.

Classic Wings Inc. has come a great distance in slightly below three years. A few of the extra main milestones already completed embrace removing of the ageing company inside and full restoration of cockpit instrumentation, radios and management panels. All management surfaces have been eliminated, rebuilt and recovered by our very gifted members at Franklin-Venango Regional Airport.  The whole plane has been utterly rewired and noticed the removing of yards upon yards of previous and rotting wire. Each engines have been utterly inspected completely with compression checks and bore-scoped whereas changing virtually each element related to them. Classic Carburetors, Most popular Airparts, Champion Aerospace, Dynamic Aviation and Solar Air Elements have been instrumental within the restoration of our C-53’s engines. 

Her flaps and all of its elements have been utterly rebuilt and refurbished. Classic Wings has additionally bought all three new tires for the plane and has already rebuilt the tailwheel and changed the tire, with the primary tires and brakes being changed and rebuilt this spring.  The unique nostril was put again on the plane with the previous fiberglass company radome being taken off and traded for extra elements. Your complete tail space has primarily been rebuilt and all cables inspected and changed as vital.  

The inside has stripped of all previous paint and adhesive which our members have been painstakingly at for a while now and all home windows have been changed with new ones in addition to new window frames.  Each navigator and radio operator stations are being utterly rebuilt and each shall be restored to honor our C-53’s wartime occupants whom we’ve situated and have been speaking with. 

A shot of Seashore City Child’s absolutely restored cockpit displaying simply how meticulous this restoration has been! (photograph by way of Classic Wings Inc.)

[Editor] On October sixth, Douglas C-53 Skytrooper 41-20095 ‘Beach City Baby’ made her profitable ferry flight from her lengthy-time period house in Seashore City, Ohio to Franklin-Venango Regional Airport the place her restoration to full wartime configuration will proceed. On touchdown, a small reception happened inside her new hangar, and Jason Capra spoke about his experiences with the undertaking. We thought our readers want to hear his description of each his experiences getting the plane thus far, and what the flight was like…

Jason Capra talking on the reception following Seashore City Child’s arrival at her new house in Franklin, Pennsylvania. (photograph by Greg Morehead)

“It’s fairly surreal. I can’t consider we’re right here proper now with the airplane sitting in entrance of the hangar. 

It was actually a mixture of the suitable individuals on the proper time…

As soon as the airplane was formally ours, we began engaged on it full tilt. I personally, and most everybody else that’s right here with the C-53 shirts on that you simply see right here have been out in Ohio two days every week for 2 years straight. I put virtually 55,000 miles on my truck to make this factor work. I all the time knew it might be completed, and the one factor that holds you again in life that you simply need to go after is your self. It was the scariest most overwhelming factor that I’ve ever checked out in my life. The primary reply to, ‘how do you eat an elephant?’ is, ‘one bite at a time.’ And that’s principally what we did. We broke this venture down into twenty some smaller tasks and simply one after the other went by means of the verify listing. And each milestone we made positive we placed on social media so everybody might see it. And it has been a dream come true for me. I used to construct fashions of DC-3s once I was a child – and by no means thought in my life I’d have one by the point I used to be 34 – [tearing up] – I all the time needed to save lots of a warbird and simply needed somebody to provide me an opportunity they usually by no means did – I went to each museum within the space, and nobody would give me the time of day. I used to be only a silly child. I guess you they’re kicking themselves… proper now, as a result of I might have carried out wonders for them – however there she is!

One factor I like about this airport and the folks that we now have in our group and the EAA Chapter in Franklin is that we assume nothing, and we’re welcoming of everyone. I’ll by no means ever, so long as I’m operating Classic Wings and we now have this airplane, flip anyone away that desires to assist. I don’t care for those who don’t know something about airplanes – Our job is to show, and that’s what the EAA is basically good with. I’m proud to companion with them. So whether or not you need to sweep the ground or wipe the airplane down, or if you understand how to bend sheet metallic (which we’re very appreciative of) you’re welcome. When you don’t know, we’re gonna train you, as a result of that’s what we do. For aviation to proceed, we’ve obtained to maintain passing the torch on to the subsequent era. I’m giving us a yr and a half to 2 years for that aircraft to be utterly completed, and we’ll begin doing airshows together with her, however she’ll be fairly superb when she does!

We’re nonetheless looking for the 2 pilots. I’ve been on fb for 2 years looking for any dwelling relations, however we’ve been unsuccessful to date. My aim is to get the unique crew and all their relations collectively due to this airplane. It’s the least I can do for that era. 

The flight was fairly good. Ian Hengst was the captain for the flight and it was honored to get fly with him. 5,000 hours of DC-three time underneath his belt and he nonetheless flies them day-after-day for a dwelling out of Florida…

Like I stated, the take off out of Seashore City was fairly good. Once we have been doing our engine run up, we sank into the bottom a very good 5 or 6 inches. It took a bit juice to get her to maneuver, however we selected the roll there that we have been going to have to only gun it and go, and I’m glad that we did, as a result of I feel we might have sunk into the mud much more. Nevertheless it’s sort of a blur from the time we put in energy to when the gear got here into the wells. We heard a bit of pop on take off and Ian and I each thought that perhaps one of many engines burped, however it ended up being a fowl. We now have an enormous dent within the tail proper now from a buzzard or one thing that we cracked on take off, which is now going to should be fastened… The low cross in Seashore City was superb… that was truly all Ian. That was a phenomenal job, and he made it look actual straightforward. And as soon as we acquired up within the air and began on our means right here – Ian checked out me and stated, ‘Your controls’, and I received to fly the airplane for the primary time, which was superior. Nevertheless it was like a dream come true – it was surreal – I stored searching the window at that massive radial engine on the market purring away and the whole lot was doing what it was imagined to do, which was scary! [laughing] – and it flew completely all the best way over right here – simply skimming the clouds – simply Ian and I speaking… and the airplane. It was good. So coming in right here I needed to do a low cross for you guys. I needed to allow you to all know we have been all right here. After which the touchdown was fairly good…. Ian took over the controls once more for the touchdown, and he did an attractive job getting her down gentle on the runway. Although [Beach City Baby] not having flown in 25 plus years, she did simply high-quality… I’d like to get again in her proper now and go up once more, however I don’t assume the FAA goes to love it! [laughing]. However anyway, it was an unimaginable pleasure to fly!” 

Classic Wings Inc’s objective is to create a flying classroom; A cellular dwelling historical past museum contained in the plane’s cabin. Static plane in museums serve a definite and beneficial function, however a flying plane with all its sights, sounds and smells merely can’t be replicated in a museum. The cabin and cockpit will turn into a classroom with studying modules utilizing key factors in its distinct historical past that align with key factors in aviation historical past. Visitors will see the importance of its position as a army C-53 in profitable the conflict and as a DC-3A creating the mannequin for the fashionable air transportation system. Flying into airshows, fly-in’s and different aviation associated occasions, it can supply greater than only a silent and empty cabin. Our core aim is to encourage future generations by telling the superb historical past of 41-20095 as solely it will possibly do.

Now it’s our flip to write down this superb airplane’s subsequent chapter. Together with your assist we will deliver “BEACH CITY BABY” again to life. Don’t let this lovely piece of American aviation historical past fade away or worse, be reduce by the scrapper’s torch. Together with your contribution and assist we will put our C-53 again the place it belongs, within the air. To study extra, please go to our web site at:

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