C-53 Skytrooper ‘Beach City Baby’ Performs First Taxi Trials

Beach City Baby outside prior to engine start. The aircraft completed her first taxi test on December 12th, 2021! (photo via Vintage Wings Inc.)
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As regular readers will know, we have been following the remarkable efforts of Jason Capra and Vintage Wings Inc. over the past five years as they successfully pursued the resurrection of combat-veteran Douglas C-53 Skytrooper 41-20095. This aircraft, nicknamed Beach City Baby due to her long sojourn at the Ohio city of that name, is fast approaching her return to the skies at Vintage Wings’ facility in Franklin, Pennsylvania.

Beach City Baby looks magnificent following her restoration. The aircraft only wears the Beach City Nose art on the left side, so that the right side of her fuselage more closely represents her wartime livery. (photo via Vintage Wings Inc.)

During our last report in September, we noted how the aircraft’s structural restoration and interior fitting-out were essentially complete, but that the team was awaiting the return of a few key components from overhaul shops; this included such items as the magnetos, engine-mounted generators, electrical regulators and even a faulty 3-in-1 gauge.

Since our September update, the freshly-overhauled magnetos and generators have returned to Vintage Wings facility in Franklin, Pennsylvania, and their technicians have installed the components back on the engines.

The brief video clip below illustrates members of the restoration team performing timing adjustments to one of the magnetos on the port engine following its installation.

Most of the other items have returned and undergone reinstallation. They have buttoned up the cowlings and performed checks on the cowl flaps, with a few adjustments being necessary for those on the port engine. In fact the restoration team has progressed so far that they were able to conduct Beach City Baby’s first taxi trials  on Sunday December 12th.

Beach City Baby within the Vintage Wings hangar on the night before her first taxi trials in Franklin, Pennsylvania. (photo via Vintage Wings Inc.)

The video below shows Beach City Baby during her first taxi tests in Franklin, Pennsylvania.

Once the taxi trials are completed, the restoration team will need to remove the propellers, as required every five years by an Airworthiness Directive, to send them off for inspection. Jason Capra is really happy with the progress they are making, and recently noted: “Our avionics and interior will be wrapped up soon… and then it’s on to weight & balance, compass swing, pitot static checks, and final paperwork. All exciting stuff.”

As noted above, there are now very few items remaining on the check list before a first flight can take place. Indeed, such is the confidence that Beach City Baby will be airworthy in the coming months that Vintage Wings is planning for next year’s air show season. They already have the following locations listed in their 2022 events calendar.

  1. New Philadelphia, Ohio             – May, 29-30
  2. Reading, Pennsylvania               – June, 3-5
  3. Washington, Pennsylvania        – June, 25-26
  4. Indiana, Pennsylvania                – July, 9-10
  5. Meadville, Pennsylvania            – July, 16
  6. Oshkosh, Wisconsin                   – July, 25-30
  7. Franklin, Pennsylvania              – August, 13
  8. Akron, Ohio                                  – August, 14
  9. Butler, Pennsylvania                   – August, 21-22
  10. Marion, Indiana                           – September 2-4
  11. Kent State University, Ohio       – September 11-12
  12. Cumberland, Maryland               – Pending
  13. Pittsburgh, AGC, Pennsylvania – Pending
  14. Wheeling, West Virginia             – Pending
  15. Topeka, Kansas                             – Pending

Many thanks to Jason Capra and Vintage Wings Inc. for the use of the images above. Anyone wishing to help support this important project should click HERE to find out how to contribute!


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