Palm Springs Air Museum lands special addition as it celebrates 25 years of collecting, protecting aviation history
The Palm Springs Air Museum is celebrating a significant milestone with a major addition to its fleet, showing just how important the organization has become to the multiple communities it serves.
The arrival of a Boeing B-17G, converted in the 1980s to represent an “F” model and used in the movie Memphis Belle, was celebrated Saturday, as the crew flying the “Movie Memphis Belle” (MMB) aircraft landed safely and was immediately doused with champagne.
Saturday’s event marked the latest arrival of a series of historic aircraft now at the museum, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Combined, more than 75 static and airworthy historic aircraft — commonly referred to as warbirds — are on display at the museum. Some are available for rides.
It also marked a significant moment for the organization, whose founder, Bob Pond, was a driving force in the warbird community. Pond passed away in 2007, but his vision of expanding the museum’s flying fleet never faded.
“We took that vision seriously,” wrote Museum Vice Chairman Fred Bell in a statement Sunday. “Our challenge was that while it’s a clear goal – the details were not that simple. We had to ‘get the band back together’ and form a new team of folks that would get us there.
“It was fitting that a few days after our Twenty-Fifth Birthday, the B-17 ‘the Movie’ Memphis Belle has joined us as we continue our journey of flight to support Bob’s vision.”
Today, the museum is recognized as one of the finest of its type, welcoming thousands of visitors annually to see the warbirds and learn world history in four climate-controlled hangars totaling 86,000 square feet, and an additional 40,000 square feet outside on the tarmac.
“We began simply enough with a Stearman,” Bell said. “Over time, we got used to handling aircraft movement. The next step was to bring back Bunny, our P-51. Things got more complex, but we forged forward. Each aircraft brought new challenges and rewards. We added riders to the planes and event flyovers.
“In a way, we have returned to where we started all those years ago flying multiple aircraft to inspire future generations in the magic of flight and the wonder of what can be.”
The aircraft was previously located at the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, New York, where it resided starting in 2016. While there, the plane underwent four propeller overhauls, two engine overhauls, and countless hours of additional maintenance and upkeep. The original Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress, known as Memphis Belle, is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
The motion picture Memphis Belle is a fictionalization of the 1944 documentary Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress by director William Wyler, about the 25th and last mission of an American Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber based in England during World War II.
Plans for the aircraft in Palm Springs, including whether it continues to fly, are still being evaluated and will be announced at a future date.
More information: The Palm Springs Air Museum is located at 745 North Gene Autry Trail and is open every day from 10 AM until 5 PM, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Complete details on admissions, programs and more, can be found here.
PARKLET PERMIT: A parklet widely recognized as the standard by which all others should be built in downtown Palm Springs received the official blessing of the city’s Architectural Review Committee (ARC) Monday evening. The 436-square-foot structure, which serves as an extension of the dining area for Tac/Quila restaurant at 415 North Palm Canyon Dr., received unanimous approval from the Committee during its regular meeting Monday. Review by the ARC is only necessary in certain instances, such as when the parklet extends into the space of a neighboring business or contains features not necessarily permitted by city rules. The Tac/Quila structure extends past the restaurant’s limits to the north but received the full support of the owner of its neighboring business, Desert Legal Documents. “As far as the parklets go, it’s one of the best ones in town and should be a template for others in the city,” said Dan Thompson, an ARC member. “It’s done extremely well.” READ THE COMPLETE STORY HERE.
STUDENT VACCINES: First doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available today for students and their families from 3 PM until 7 PM at the Palm Springs High School theater, located at 2401 E. Baristo Rd.. The vaccines are available at a clinic put on by Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD). Clinics are also planned for Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, and Rancho Mirage high schools this week, in addition to one at the District Service Center, 150 District Center Dr., December 1 from 3 PM until 7 PM. Additional information can be found here.
FILM FESTIVAL AWARD: The Palm Springs International Film Awards announced Monday that Penélope Cruz is the recipient of an International Star Award for her performance in Parallel Mothers. The film awards will take place in-person on January 6, 2022 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, with the festival running through January 17, 2022. More information is available here.
MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers ballroom dance classes, beginning Spanish, beginning Tai Chi, and much more today, starting at 8 AM. A complete list of everything offered can be found online here.
MAIN STREET: Main Street Palm Springs, the city’s Downtown and Uptown business association, meets today at 8:30 AM via Zoom. To register for the meeting, go here. For information on the organization, go here.
SUSTAINABILITY: The city’s Sustainability Commission meets this evening starting at 5:30 PM via Zoom. More information about how to view that meeting, as well as an agenda, can be found here.
TALK OF THE TOWN: The next installment of the popular Talk of the Town series, presented by ONE-PS, is this evening at 5:30 PM on Zoom. ONE-PS invites the community to join Julie Warren and David Gray, co-founders of The LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert, as they speak about the rich and deep fabric of our shared LGBTQ+ history. Also joining during the discussion will be Palm Springs Pride President & CEO Ron De Harte, who will share news about the establishment of an LGBTQ+ Wall Of Honor and monument. More information is available at the Facebook event page here.
NOMINATIONS OPEN: The Palm Springs Human Rights Commission continues to accept nominations today for its annual Community Service Awards that recognize individuals and organizations for “Promoting Universal Human Rights Close to Home.” Information about how to nominate a person or organization can be found here. The deadline for submitting nominations is Wednesday, December 1.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
SPEAKER SERIES: The next event in the 3rd Wednesday Speakers Series is Wednesday at 5:30 PM at Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way. A screening of L.A. A Queer History – Where It All Began, a film by Gregorio Davila, will precede a moderated talk with the filmmaker. The screening is afree event. More information is available here.
TURKEYS AVAILABLE: Erkies Electrical Heating and Air Conditioning owner Dane Feldman is once again providing free turkeys for those in need in the community. This year, 400 Thanksgiving dinner tables throughout greater Palm Springs will have a turkey, thanks to Feldman. The giveaway will be held on Thursday in the parking lot of the Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, beginning at 3 PM.
NEXT PLAY AT PALM CANYON: The Del Shores and Palm Springs love affair continues with the Palm Springs premiere of This Side of Crazy, slated for this weekend at Palm Canyon Theatre, starting Thursday. The performance follows the successful run of Shores’ Sordid Lives in September. Tickets are $29.50, and $15.00 for students. They can be purchased online at PalmCanyonTheatre.org, via phone at 760-323-5123, or at the box office, open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM until 4 PM. A complete preview of the play can be found in The Post here.
SINATRA CELEBRATION: Palm Springs Point of View, a YouTube channel that covers “Eats, Art and Culture” in Palm Springs and elsewhere in the Coachella Valley, is holding its next Martinis and Moxie event on Friday at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Rd., at 6 PM. Tickets for that event are available here.
TAHQUITZ CREEK CLEANING: The Tahquitz Creek Yacht Club meets to clean up a portion of Tahquitz Creek Channel at 8 AM Saturday. Volunteers gather at the south end of the footbridge at South Camino Real and South Riverside Drive. You can find the club’s Facebook page here, and contact the club via email at [email protected].
DESERT WINDS OPENS SEASON: Desert Winds Freedom Band presents its Fall Concert titled A Night on Broadway on Saturday, November 20 at 7 PM. Tickets for the performance, held at Temple Isaiah, 332 West Alejo Rd., can be purchased here. The band returned to in-person rehearsals in September and is embarking on its 20th Anniversary concert season under the leadership of Artistic Director Dean McDowell. You can learn more about the band and listen to recent virtual performances at its website here.
BENEFIT RUNS: Registration for the city’s annual Wild Turkey Trot 5K is open now at runpalmsprings.com, as well as active.com and racewire.com. The event is held on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25, at 8 AM, and offers entrants a chance to get in some exercise before Thanksgiving dinner. It starts at 100 North Palm Canyon Drive. Registrants for the event receive a T-shirt, a medal, and more. The run benefits local charities. Questions? Feel free to contact Molly Thorpe, the race director, at 760-413-6508. Another Thanksgiving Day run, which benefits Martha’s Village and Kitchen, is being held virtually this year. More information on that event, sponsored by Fortem Financial, can be found here.
DESERT JAM: The annual benefit for Palm Springs-based Well in the Desert — Desert Jam 2021: Jammin’ for the Well — is slated for Monday, December 6 at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino ballroom in Rancho Mirage at 6 PM. All proceeds benefit The Well’s work to feed and provide for those experiencing homelessness in our community. More information, including how to purchase tickets for the event can be found here or by calling 760-285-7297.
POLICE AND FIRE EVENT: The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce is taking reservations for its annual Police & Fire Appreciation Luncheon, held Tuesday, December 7, from 11:30 AM until 1 PM at the Palm Springs Convention Center. More information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities is available here.
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