When: Friday to Monday, September 1-4
Where: Naval Air Station Wildwood
Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum is excited to announce that Vintage Wings Inc. “Beach City Baby”, a Douglas C-53 Skytrooper will be attending AirFest (9/1-9/4) this Labor Day Weekend. This new addition to AirFest is a “must see!” C-53s were civilian aircraft DC-3s that at some point in time were converted for military service. The C-53 was used as a troop transport, participated in combat missions as a drop platform for paratroopers, towing gliders, and as medical evacuation aircraft. C-47s and C-53s became the workhorse and backbone of the US war effort. At the end of World War II, General Eisenhower credited these aircraft as well as jeeps, bazookas, and the atomic bomb for the winning of the war.
This specific aircraft was on the factory floor in Santa Monica, California, when Pearl Harbor was attacked and was accepted weeks later by the United States Army Air Corps in January of 1942 as a citizen soldier. It was assigned to Ferry Command for survey routes and ferry flights to and from England laying the groundwork for what would become known as the North Atlantic Routes used by thousands of aircraft to deliver supplies and personnel to England. In November of 1942, the aircraft was then transferred to North African Division of the Air Transport Command where it shuttled troops and wounded in and out of the North African campaign. This specific aircraft also supported the Invasion of Italy and Sicily. The final assignment was to FEA, Cairo Division until May 12th, 1945.
Eventually, “Beach City Baby” ended up in Pennsylvania where after a lot of hard work, it was restored and returned to flight status. During AirFest, Vintage Wings Inc., who attend events in historically accurate clothing, will offer interior tours for festgoers to explore the great history of the aircraft and to put you in the shoes of those of our greatest generation. Walk-through tours are free, but a voluntary donation is suggested to help with restoration and maintenance costs.
In addition to “Beach City Baby”, AirFest will feature a P-40 Warhawk “American Dream”, a fly in of historic aircraft of the Aero Club of Pennsylvania, and many other aircraft. This year NASW is hosting reenactors performing as Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Rosie the Riveter, and the Harvey Girls as part of a Women in History Weekend. Additionally, there will be lecturers, live music, vendors, exhibitors, food, drink, and more. Make sure to mark your calendars and stay up to date through the museum’s social media with the latest announcements.
Admission prices are $18 for adults, $14 for children ages 3-12, and free for members, active-duty military, and children under 3. For more information visit usnasw.org/airfest-2023 or call 609-886-8787.
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located inside historic Hangar #1 at the Cape May Airport. The site was formerly Naval Air Station Wildwood, which served as a World War II dive-bomber training center. The museum is dedicated to the 42 aviators who perished while training at Naval Air Station Wildwood between 1943 and 1945. Current museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.