Palm Springs Air Museum

by Wendy VanHatten

Sure. Let’s visit the Palm Springs Air Museum. We’ve been to other air museums and enjoy seeing the planes and reading about their history.

This one is different.

The Palm Springs Air Museum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of flyable WWII aircraft and from Korea and Vietnam. Flyable, being the key word. Also, unlike many other museums, the air-conditioned hangars have no ropes to keep people from interacting with the exhibits and the more than 60 planes.


We wandered in and out of hangers, asked questions of many volunteers who actually flew some of the planes, and toured the interior of a flyable B-17. This one has been used in several Hollywood films. Impressive.

Hangers are organized by theme. The Pacific (Navy) Hangar includes exhibits and aircraft used by the Navy in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Highlights include the Pearl Harbor diorama narrated by NBC journalist and author Tom Brokaw, the Grumman “cats”; the Avenger, Corsair, Dauntless and Invader.

The European (Army) Hangar features exhibits and aircraft used by the Army in the European Theater during World War II, plus a T-33 training jet used in Korea and Vietnam.  Some planes in this hangar include the B-25 Mitchell Bomber, P-47 Thunderbolt, the renovated flying Red Tail P-51 Mustang, the P-63 King Cobra, the Spitfire and the C-47. There is also a Tuskegee Airmen mural and a wall showing the European battles of WWII.

The smallest hangar is where we found the B-17 Flying Fortress.

Since opening in 1996, they have maintained their status as a museum that flies its aircraft. Definitely worth a visit to be able to see and get near planes that shaped our history. It was even more impressive to hear the engines and see the planes as they readied for takeoff.

They are open every day from 10 to 5, except Thanksgiving and Christmas, with free parking. Check their website for more info, . Then, plan a trip. You’ll be glad you did.

If You Go: The Palm Springs Air Museum is located at 745 North Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, CA.