Palm Springs Air Museum

Air Museums are like a Holy Land for pilots, aircraft enthusiasts and modelers. There, you can sometimes find your favorite aircraft, get to see them up close and personal and hopefully, learn more about their history and specifics. Quite often, you can meet with former /sometimes currently flying/ pilots, engineers and people of different fields related to aviation, who can open your eyes about many things you never suspected, related to that same favorite of yours. That is often an unforgettable experience, especially if that is something that you don’t do on a regular basis.

I’ve been to Palm Springs Air Museum in 2003. Back then, it was a nice place to visit and what I remember vividly from my first visit, was the opportunity to enter the B-17. There were other interesting planes, especially the A-4 in Aggressor colors, but the Flying Fortress is what stuck with me. Fifteen years later, I came back. And I discovered something that exceeded my expectations and surprised me pleasantly. The Palm Springs Museum grew bigger with time, people got more engaged with visitors and a lot more to see is now parked there.

Neatly maintained aircraft can be found, some of them in flying condition. The range of those is quite large too – from Corsairs, through MiG-21s, Century fighters, gliders, trainers and helicopters. The museum offers rides for reasonable price, currently on C-47 Skytrain and P-51 Mustang. Soon T-33 will be flyable too. There are volunteers that can help you around everything inside, providing wonderful stories, knowledge and experience that you can hardly get anywhere else. I personally met with couple of guys, one of which: with Intruder, Phantom and Tomcat experience. Both Vietnam War veterans. This isn’t something that you can get every day of the week. No, sir!

The knowledge base in Palm Springs Air Museum is exceptional. And by that I don’t mean their huge library abundant in information, simulators and models, but the people. The people working there are with experience, probably hundreds of years combined. They witnessed various situations, had various tasks, in various events, all around the World. Priceless experience. Something that is very useful for aviation enthusiasts and especially modelers. And speaking of modelers, in the museum you can find plenty of scale models, built from experienced modelers, adding to the collection with their specific charm. Ships too. And stunning collection of the latter ones. Alongside with all that, restoration processes are ongoing, which in my opinion is the best you can witness when you get there. There is a PBY Catalina in the works, and it looks amazing, even though it is not yet ready.

There are lots of aviation art items and if I understood correctly, those were donated from the author. Which is exactly the essence that I managed to catch while visiting there. The museum is built on a large dose of devotion and enthusiasm. It seems like all that, was stimulated by pure thoughts and will, something that only proud and selfless people can attribute to the society. People that you will meet in person if you go there.

And that is what makes it special. Because it is not the biggest Air Museum that I’ve been to. Nor the one with the fanciest planes or the most exotic exhibition style. But is most definitely the one that inspires the most. And trust me, I’ve been to many, all around the World. Surprisingly for me, the Palm Springs Air Museum that I knew from ’03 was just like the rest of them. Nothing special. Nice, but still… just a museum. However, the Palm Springs Museum that I saw in 2018, is something way different. Way ahead and way refined. All is evolved and not surprisingly, it is voted to be among the Top 15 Air Museums in the World. I can easily push it into top 10.

Every enthusiast, no matter pilot or a modeler, must include this into his or hers schedule. It is worth the time, and the price to pay is ridiculously small for what you get in return. But the most important thing you can receive while visiting here is not seeing the Phantom, the Prowler or the Flying Fortress, but the interaction with people. People that are extraordinary, experienced and knowledgeable. A rare commodity nowadays. And they communicate with the visitors in specific way, using that lost art of speaking, sharing and engaging you in meaningful and effortless conversations. Something that will make your day. Even more.

Don’t hesitate to visit: