Aviation

A New Museum to Explore

This past Saturday Dad and I went down to the Palm Springs Air Museum to see what treasures it would yield. The museum was holding a 65th anniversary to island hopping in the pacific specifically Midway Island and Gaudalcanal. Neither of us knew anything about their speaker format or what their flight demonstration would be like, so it was a good time to go learn especially since we had nice weather there and back. Now Dad spent a lot of time in the mountains and valleys in southern California but i hadn’t. Even being born in Santa Barbara and the occasional project Dad was working on, as a kid i wasn’t down in the area much. So along the way down to Palm Springs, Dad was pointing out places he had been when he was a kid and how much everything has changed.

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The Museum was quite impressive, inside and out with an F16 and Tomcat on display in the front yard and a memorial honoring some of the fallen. Inside the first thing that stood out beyond all else was a painting that expanded across most of the wall above us. It depicted the battle of midway with extraordinary detail. After admissions we started wandering looking at the displays and variants of aircraft. We later found out that the founder Robert Pond had between 25-30 planes in his collection, this included a B25 and B17. The first couple of planes that stood out were the Bearcat and Dauntless parked outside near the fence. Great looking planes, so unaccustomed to seeing a Bearcat that wasn’t modified. Outside was also the PBY which was amazing to see, so few exist nowadays.

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Walking around inside we saw a number of good looking planes. In the “Pacific Theater Room” was another Dauntless, Wildcat, Hellcat, Corsair and one of my new favorites the A26 Marauder. I saw one for the first time down at CAF Headquarters Arizona. This one looked even better, sitting inside helped, it had great yellow and red wings that just stood out in the room. Moving around we found the room with the B25, along with it was a P51, Spitfire and of course the P40 Warhawk. You just can’t not love this plane. The look of those shark jaws in the front just makes it look mean. It was of course replaced with the P51 during the war so it must not have been mean enough. Mousing around we found the room with the B17. Not quite as polished as the one at CAF but still great looking. This one was open to walk inside of seeing what it would’ve been like to be crammed inside of one.

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As we were waiting outside watching the T33 Shooting Star get ready for its flight, it was the plane doing the flying demo that day, i looked back across the yard to see if there were any missed shots. I seem to keep missing them, it’s definetely difficult with fences and hangers surrounding the place. I never got a good shot of the PBY with 24-70 while walking around, so perhaps the 200-400 would be better. That’s when Dad pointed out the nose art and i had to get the click. Next up was the flight!

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Images Captured with D3, Nikon Nikkor AF-S2.8 24-70, Nikon Nikkor Vr 200-400 f4, on Lexar UDMA Digital film

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