Palm Springs Air Museum

posted by Sharon February 5, 2018 28 Comments

The Palm Springs Air Museum is “where history comes alive,” as the museum says. In the four hangars of this 20-year-old museum, planes from WWII are on display. And every plane here can be flown. The planes are shiny and beautiful and well maintained, making the air museum a fascinating and attractive place to spend an afternoon. Palm Springs Air MuseumPalm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air MuseumOne hangar houses the giant B-17 bomber. This is my favorite exhibit because you can climb aboard as long as you meet the height requirement on the bomb. Palm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air MuseumBefore boarding the B-17, a tour guide talks about this amazing plane. Our guide, Bob, spoke with enthusiasm and answered questions using his expertise on this subject. Palm Springs Air Museum

He pointed out the rivets on the plane, installed by all of the Rosie the Riveters in the manufacturing plants in the 1940s. Palm Springs Air Museum

Bob told us that as many as 16 of these planes were assembled in one day during WWII. They were then flown by women – WAVES – across the U.S. to be taken to England. These women are finally being recognized for their service and are now allowed to be buried in Arlington.

Time to board the plane! I climbed a ladder into a small entry. During the war, men hung on and hoisted themselves up, no sissy ladders allowed. Palm Springs Air Museum

Then I crawled in on hands and knees. Here’s the cockpit. Palm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air MuseumMoving down the plane, you walk on this narrow metal band. The black side rail ropes are added for the public but weren’t on the original plane. So men were high in the air in temps of -50 degrees, with the plane swaying, perhaps being shot at, and they scurried back and forth across this metal plank that was open to the skies. It’s mind-boggling. Palm Springs Air Museum

 

 

 

Palm Springs Air MuseumThe most dangerous role on these bombers was that of ball turret gunner. This young man hung below the plane in a clear capsule (visible to the enemy) to man his gun. Quarters are too tight to allow this man to wear a parachute. If the crew had to bail out, this guy had to climb up into the plane and then strap on his parachute while the plane was plummeting to earth. The bravery of these flyers was immense. Palm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air MuseumAnother display that captured my interest is the one about WWII gliders. These were “towed” into the air and glided into enemy territory. No power or engine is involved, so once they landed, their use was over. They held 13 men who hopped out once they landed behind enemy lines. Most of the gliders lay in ruins in France after the war, but a training glider from England survived and is on display at the air museum.  Palm Springs Air MuseumPalm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air MuseumPalm Springs Air Museum

A delightful aspect of touring the air museum is that you can meet and talk with so many of the volunteer guides. They are all friendly and knowledgeable. This “young” man, age 90, worked as a teenager on airfields in England during WWII. He has retired in Palm Springs and spends hours each week telling visitors about the planes on display. Palm Springs Air Museum

The guides have name tags with stars. Each star represents 250 volunteer hours. One crew chief had 5 stars. That is a LOT of hours. You can tell all the men love being around here. Their enthusiasm will make your visit memorable! Palm Springs Air Museum

A traveling exhibit shows the art of Walt Disney studios that was donated for insignias of WWII bomber groups. Palm Springs Air MuseumPalm Springs Air Museum

The newest hangar has planes from the Korean and Vietnam wars, along with videos about the Cold War and the Berlin Airlift.

History is preserved here for all ages to learn about and explore, hands on. If you’re in Palm Springs, take a few hours away from relaxing poolside and visit the riches of the Palm Springs Air Museum. Palm Springs Air Museum

The museum is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $17 for adults, $15 for youth, and $10 for children ages 6 to 12. Newly available: a 20-minute flight in a P-51 Mustang for $1,895!

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Monday Escapes, Little Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, Seasons, Our World Tuesday, Photo Friday, Travel Photo Thursday, City Tripping, Weekend Wanderlust, Faraway Files, The Weekly Postcard, Wanderful Wednesday, and Weekend Travel Inspiration.

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28 Comments

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Tamar Strauss-Benjamin February 5, 2018 at 10:10 am

Wow! So many cool old planed! Love the old missile that one must be taller than!

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Carol February 5, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Oh my, Sharon. This is a wonderful post. I’ve visited several other air museums and they are fascinating. Love looking at the old planes and hearing about them.

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Su-sieee! Mac February 5, 2018 at 5:12 pm

Until I visited the Oakland Aviation Museum years ago, I had no idea how much I enjoy air museums. Aviation grew so quickly, it’s amazing. Also impressive to me is how these huuuuuuuuge, heavy objects can fly and carry tons and tons of people and cargo. if I ever make it to Palm Springs, I’ll check out air museum there. Thanks for sharing.

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tomthebackroadstraveller February 5, 2018 at 5:23 pm

…I’m a fan of WWII nose art, great tour. Thanks!

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Jeanna February 5, 2018 at 5:30 pm

Incredible stuff, I didn’t know about the WAVES flying planes or the gliders. The You Have to be This Tall bomb sign is hilarious and good for you for crawling inside the plane. Great photos, did you call first to see if they’d let you take photos?

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Eileen February 5, 2018 at 7:46 pm

Hello, what a fun museum and exhibit. Your photos are awesome! Thanks for sharing your tour! Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

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Fun60 February 5, 2018 at 8:10 pm

I had to laugh reading about you crawling on your hands and knees. Very scary for the gunner as well as those men having to crawl from one part of the plane to the other. Great post.

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Photo Cache February 5, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Interesting, even for someone who’s particularly not into flying and aircraft.

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Dina February 5, 2018 at 8:31 pm

Shalom Sharon. Thank you for this wonderful tour of the museum and the walk through the bomber! Did you really have to crawl in??
All this fills us with wonder at a nation that came together to prepare for, fight, and win a world war. My father piloted a B-24 Liberator that was shot down bombing the oil fields in Romania. He bailed out and survived.
Your post inspires me to go visit the Israel Air Force museum down here in the Negev.

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Taken For Granted February 5, 2018 at 9:31 pm

Looks like a great museum. Thanks for all the excellent photos of these historic aircraft.

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Jesh StG February 5, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Love the colors of these airplanes! It’s probably not as big as the airplane carrier n San Diego, or? I have been at the latter – so interesting! What – the women could fly but not be buried (first) at Arlington – that gets me (and I’m not a feminist!) – happy times have changed. Your posts are always interesting! Thank you for sharing this air museum with All Seasons:) Have a great week!

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Patrick Weseman February 6, 2018 at 4:27 am

Wow, super stuff. That is a place that I truly want to visit. Thanks for sharing it.

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Lea @ Lea's Menagerie February 6, 2018 at 3:24 pm

What a fascinating place! Thanks for taking us on the tour with you!
Have a wonderful week!

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Katherine February 7, 2018 at 12:14 am

What an interesting Museum! There’s actually an air museum close to me, I think I’ll stop putting off my visit now. I didn’t realise that some of those planes were flown by woman across the US, I’m glad that they’re being recognised for their contribution to the war effort as well. #CityTripping

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Margy February 7, 2018 at 1:25 am

We are going to Palm Springs later this month for a women’s college softball tournament. I’ve seen the museum from the airplane on the runway but haven’t been inside. Thanks for the tour. – Margy

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Cathy (Mummytravels) February 8, 2018 at 9:17 am

This is astonishing – the stories are amazing, and I am flinching at the idea of walking across the metal plank when the plane is stationary on the ground! It must have been a fascinating experience to be able to go inside and get an insight into the conditions they would have faced. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

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Kelleyn Rothaermel February 9, 2018 at 7:02 am

Very cool! I will have to put it on my list of things to do . Planning a trip for maybe next fall with my girlfriends.
http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.de/2018/02/and-so-it-goes.html

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Jeanna February 9, 2018 at 9:00 pm

I loved this post so much I had to share it on my FB page.

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Anda February 9, 2018 at 10:55 pm

Hmmm…. I’ve been in Palm Springs recently but had no idea about the air museum. I’m sure my husband would have enjoyed visiting it. Thanks for sharing all these details, Sharon. It was like a mini tour of the museum. I’d still like to go visit it in person though. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Harmony, Momma To Go February 9, 2018 at 10:56 pm

we have a similar museum in my area – the aviation museum its on the sight of where Charles Lindberg took off for his trans atlantic flight. But htey dont let you go in the planes, this is really neat!

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Ruth | Tanama Tales February 10, 2018 at 1:17 am

I have been to this museum and it is really a fun place to visit (my husband loved it and he doesn’t like museums at all). The planes in there are very cool and there is a lot to learn while walking around the exhibitions and talking to the guides. We visited during summer so, the temperature was around 110. It was a little bit difficult to enjoy the planes that were not covered. I have to make a point to visit again. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Cynthia Mackintosh February 10, 2018 at 1:35 pm

We were in Palm Springs 2 years ago. I wish we would have known about this museum! It looks awesome.

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Esther February 10, 2018 at 7:47 pm

This looks fantastic. Would love to visit there! My dad worked in aviation for 30 yrs and I have been fascinated since I was little.
#weekendwanderlust

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Rhonda Albom February 10, 2018 at 9:20 pm

This museum is fascinating. I am impressed by the restoration quality of the B17 and your description of what the men had to do to perform their mission. I have been inside a Lancaster bomber and know how tight everything fits.

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Sarah Chrsitie February 11, 2018 at 5:41 pm

Wow what a fascinating place to visit I bet the guides were so interesting and made the whole experience so much more real. Our boys would love this so much thanks for linking up #MondayEscapes

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Jill February 11, 2018 at 11:15 pm

An air museum is definitely not something I think of when I think of Palm Springs , but this looks like a very interesting one. My son and husband would so love visiting this!

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Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) February 13, 2018 at 10:41 pm

What a fantastic museum! Of course, we love vintage aircraft – Rob especially likes the “warbirds.” We keep saying it’s past time for us to visit Palm Springs…and here’s another reminder that we need to go! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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