History, nostalgia, and some fighter planes have always been a personal allure. So when I visited the Coachella Valley to enjoy some of the desert dry air and an abundance of sun, there was one place to scratch that itch - the Palm Springs Air Museum.
Located adjacent to the Palm Springs International Airport, this attraction which also provides activities, contains one of the world's largest collections of flying WWII airplanes, that include such aircraft as: Grumman F4F Wildcat, Russian Yakovlev YAK_11 Moose, Boeing Stearman PT-17 Kaydet, the Lockheed P38 Lightning, or the Curtiss P40 Hawk.
Located on the north side of the airport, near the Desert Sun newspaper and the new Gene Autry Plaza that is filled with a number of different shops, the Palm Springs air Museum is housed in a magnificent new structure that includes two main display halls and hangers.
Walking through these enormous constructions, I saw how the flying aircraft that was kept in pristine condition was displayed in modern, well-lighted, air-conditioned and clean hangars. There was little dust and a cool breeze that provided adequate ventilation.
The museum also has a research library that allowed me to delve into the many books of history and stories that accompanied some of the sites to be seen. The library contained some 6300 volumes primarily related to aviation and American military history. There is also a simulator and educational center that gave me an excellent opportunity to feel what it was like to sit in the cockpit of a Bell P63 King Cobra.
As I enjoyed taking my time, moving through each exhibit, I was soon to learn that the Palm Springs Air Museum was dedicated to the restoration, preservation, and operation of America's legendary fighters, bombers, and trainers. It was constructed to give each visitor a welcome into the past and the experience of what it must have felt like to be in the air and in the middle of battle. What an experience to hear the pounding roar of high-powered piston engines or climbing into the cockpits of legendary fighting jets and bombers. It's a moment well worth the time spent in the valley.
Palm Springs Air Museum
745 N Gene Autry Trl
Palm Springs, CA 92262
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