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Palm Springs Air Museum

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Are your kids interested in airplanes?  Mine weren’t, but once they visited the Palm Springs Air Museum (PSAM) they were enamored.   If you haven’t heard about the museum here is a little back story.

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The Palm Springs Air Museum is a non-profit educational institution, dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of WWII aircrafts.  The museum opened on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 1996 and contains two 20,000 sq. ft. hangars and a 15,700 sq. ft. hangar, which is home to the museum’s flying B-17.

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Many of the museum volunteers are veterans who have flown and are willing to share their experiences.  Quite a few of the aircraft on display at the museum are fully restored with complete engines. Three to four airplanes are licensed to fly and regularly make flight exhibitions at the PSAM and at air shows each year.

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As you drive around the airport, you might feel a bit lost with all the various hangers.  If you come upon a Navy jet then you know you are in the right place right off of Gene Autry Trail.  Once you park, all you want to do is run quickly into the hanger to see what they have in store for you.

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When you walk down the beautiful painted wall of WWII planes you come to, what I perceived to be, the heart of the museum.  The visitor’s center has a guide on site giving directions as to what is located where.   If we head to the right, we go into the The European Hangar and from there a smaller hangar that has the children’s center as well as a café.  To the left we walk into The Pacific Hangar which focuses mainly on the Navy or our final option straight to the runway.

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Since we had come for a special event at the children’s center, we decided to head towards the European Hangar.  When you walk into the hangar, your eyes grow a bit bigger seeing these beautifully restored planes before you.  How was it possible that one they found so many of them and two restored them to such pristine conditions.

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I got the answers to my questions when I met up with one of their docent veterans.  He explained that some of the planes were sold by private collectors, some donated by private collectors whereas others were on loan by the navy as well as collectors.  I’ve heard of collecting cars but planes!  Wow that was mind blowing.

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In terms of the conditions of the planes, some of the planes are already restored when they are delivered. The others are restored by the museum with funds donated by visitors.  Currently they are taking donations to restore and eventually fly the breathtaking B-17 Flying Fortress, Miss Angela.

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Funny thing about going to a museum, sometimes old memories come back.  As we were walking past a D-6 Army Jeep, my mom stopped and said “I spent more of my childhood in the backseat of one of these.”  A part of my mom’s life that I had never known.  My grandfather was a Colonel in the army so my mom and her siblings spent a lot of time on the military base.  When I sent my aunt and uncles a picture of my mom in front of the Jeep, each one had their own story to tell and a deep love for that car.

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Throughout the year the museum hosts events for children, we were lucky to have been there to make our own model airplane.  Hosted by the CV Radio Control Club Workshop, my children were able to make their own balsawood model airplane and fly it with the help of John and Joe (and my husband of course)!

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The kindness and patience that these two men had with all the children at the event was heartwarming.   My kids had a blast and they event flew their planes around the hanger a few times.

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After touring the three hangars and having a chance to tour/sit in a few planes, we decided to head outside and see what planes were housed outside.

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Walking in the heat on the runway reminded me of a scene from Top Gun.  Aircrafts lined up on the runway, planes taking off from the airport behind us and the desert sand sweeping across the ground.

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It couldn’t have been more picturesque, such a lovely way to spend the day. I have so much respect for all soldiers and cannot imagine how difficult it was to be in these noisy aircraft without air conditioning/heat or even seats.

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It takes a truly remarkable person to be so giving and we should all be so very grateful to these amazing men and women who have dedicated their lives so that we can have the lives that we do.  The Palm Springs Air Museum is open year round, seven days a week, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm except for certain holidays.  For more information you can visit www.PalmSpringsAirMuseum.org or call (760) 778-6262.  Hope you enjoy the museum as much as my family did.

I’m an OC mom of two and photographer. I love living in Southern California and want to expose my children to all that it offers. I love taking my kids on adventures and capturing their every moment so much so that my kids find it odd if I don’t take their pictures. You can see my work on facebook.com/photosbynaz.
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One Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Palm Springs Air Museum.
    Regards

    my page – Cheats for hay day

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