Photos: Inside the Restoration of a C-53 Skytrooper

The task of bringing "Beach City Baby" back to its glory days is a tough one, but the crew at Vintage Wings is up for it.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence that led Jason Capra to a back road in Beach City, Ohio, where he'd spot a Douglas DC-3 seemingly abandoned in a field. Perhaps it was destiny. Whatever the forces of the universe were up to that day, it allowed Capra, an airline pilot and self-described WWII airplane enthusiast, to fulfill his childhood dream of owning and restoring a piece of history.

And this particular airplane is loaded with history, from its two months as Gen. Douglas MacArthur's personal transport to its service as Buckeye One for Ohio Gov. Jim Rhodes., and not to mention its role in Operation Torch. That's why it was so important for Capra and his friends and fellow board members at Vintage Wings to raise the $100,000 necessary to buy this plane and give it the restoration it so richly deserves.

Last weekend, Vintage Wings hosted its Father's Day Fly-In breakfast and showcased the work that has been done on "Beach City Baby." Obviously, as Capra recently told us, there is still way more work ahead, and that requires a lot of fundraising. Each step is progress, though, and Vintage Wings was happy to take us inside the restoration process on this beautiful aircraft.

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Vintage Wings has been recruiting volunteers and local aviation groups to help with the early restoration of the C-53 Skytrooper.Vintage Wings
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The plane's right engine is almost completely restored, and the group hopes to fire it up in July.Vintage Wings
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Brand new engine hoses from Specialty Hose Aerospace Corporation.Vintage Wings
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Soda-blasted aileron in blasting booth.Vintage Wings
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View of stripped interior including new sheetmetal repairs.Vintage Wings
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Newly refurbished pilot seats and radio operators seats.Vintage Wings
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Rudder with new fabric being stitched on by Jim Aaron from EAA Sport Aviation, Venango Chapter.Vintage Wings
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A crowd gathers around the C-53 at the annual Fathers Day Fly-In Pancake Breakfast at the group’s airport: Beach City, Ohio, 2D7.Vintage Wings
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President and Founder Jason Capra with "Beach City Baby," Emilee Derewicz.Vintage Wings
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101st airborne re-enactors were huge with the crowds, telling the story of the Airborne in WWII.Vintage Wings
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Members of Vintage Wings Inc. at their cookout the night before the Fly-In.Vintage Wings
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The C-53 with a new original nose cone, new sheetmetal, and the almost-ready-to-run right engine.Vintage Wings