Beach City Baby Flies!

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Low pass past the hangar that will be her new home.

After almost three years of restoration work, “Beach City Baby”, a Douglas C-53 Skytrooper (41-20095, c/n 4865) flew for the first time in more than 20 years this past Saturday. Jason Capra, a captain for Republic Airways, and his band of volunteers completed the aircraft to a point where FAA could grant a “ferry permit”. This allowed the aircraft to be flown from Beach City, OH to her new home at Venango Regional Airport (KFKL) in Franklin, PA.

This aircraft was built in 1941 and was accepted by the US Army Air Corps in January 1942. She served with the Air Transportation Command in places like North Africa and Italy as a troop and VIP transport. After the war, the aircraft was sold to Danish Air Lines (later SAS); many European airlines were “jump started” after the war with surplus DC-3s. She returned back to the US, and from 1963 until 1983 served as the official transport of the Governor of Ohio. Eventually, she ended up in Beach City where she sat since 1992.

Arrival

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After a lot of waiting for the weather to cooperate, the flight was finally on, and the Baby touched down in Franklin at 1:13 pm with Ian Hengst and Jason Capra at the controls. Now, after sitting outdoors for a couple of decades, the aircraft will have a new hangar as her home, and the restoration work can be completed.

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Jason Capra (center) recounting the events of the flight. I was happy to see many folks wearing a t-shirt with my artwork on the back (see below).
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Possible future look of the Baby.

I want to thank Bill Buchna, director of the Venango Airport, and his colleagues for all the help on Saturday in driving me around the airport and getting me to the right position along the runway to take pictures of Beach City Baby’s arrival. My quick 34-hour trip (20+ hours of which were spent driving from NH to PA and back) really paid off in the form of the photos I was able to take.

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Many folks showed up to witness Baby’s arrival in vintage aircraft. Here is an immaculate 1953 Taylorcraft Tourist (N23JW, c/n 5-14008).

Pictures from Restoration

Here are some pictures from my earlier visits to Beach City to see how the restoration work was progressing.

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Engine hoses being removed in March 2017. Note the newer style pointed nose which later was replaced with an original one.
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Hoses, carefully labeled, waiting to be sent away for replacements to be manufactured.
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A day before her first taxi trials in August 2018. Note new fabric covering of the control surfaces.
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