The restoration crew at the Palm Springs Air Museum are nothing short of magicians. This F-102 “Delta Dagger” sat in a forest for 40 years. This entire rear section has been re-created from jigs and templates that were 3-D printed from a survey of an intact F-102. Standing next to it up close made me think two things… First, now it almost looks like it just rolled off the assembly line. Second, it is a much bigger aircraft than I had realized. Especially having seen it on a truck when it first arrived at the Museum some time back.
The Convair F-102 “Delta Dagger” was the Interceptor that served as the backbone of the United States Air Force. It entered service in 1956 and 1,000 were built, designed to intercept invading Soviet strategic bomber fleets during the Cold War. In various versions, it had a top speed of Mach 1.22 and a service ceiling of 56,000 ft. The F-102 served in Vietnam, flying fighter patrols and serving as bomber escorts, finally retiring from USAF service in 1976. There are no flying F-102s in existence today.
By the way, The first operational service of the F-102A was with the 327th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at George Air Force Base, near Victorville, right here in Southern California in April 1956. I am looking forward to seeing the completion of this F-102 and it making it’s permanent home not far from it’s beginnings. Very exciting!
Voyage To Vietnam
Imagine laying in your bunk, not much to do, mind wandering, thinking about what is ahead of you, the unknown and the fear. On board your troopship, you just draw on the bottom of the bunk just inches above you. “Marking Time: Voyage To Vietnam” an exhibit at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Just one of the reasons to get over there today. Including the exhibit “Salute To WWII Flying Tigers in China” and a presentation “France 1940: The Invasion That Shook The World” followed by a flight demonstration with the Museum’s C-47. Be there, I will!
Fun In The Skies!
Yesterday at the Palm Springs Air Museum as their C-47 “What’s Up Doc” does a fly by. Always fun there, you could watch from the ground or even have grabbed a ride headed down to the Salton Sea and back. Bring your camera too and check out the goings on, pretty much everyday, on their website at http://palmspringsairmuseum.org
Photographed with a FujiFilm XT-1 camera and the FujiFilm 50-140 lens. What a great lightweight versatile camera system!
Chili, Cars, Planes and Halloween
What a great combination! A Chili Cook Off, Car Show and all at the Palm Springs Air Museum on Halloween! You could even go take a ride in Bunny, a fully restored C-47! Too Fun!
My Ride Is Here!
Overhead this morning, the C-47 Skytrain “Bunny” out of the Palm Springs Air Museum. It’s nose art is “What’s Up Doc”. In service for 58 years and here painted with 1944 D-Day Invasion stripes. Also known as “Gooney Bird” it can land almost anywhere even with no landing strip. As the DC-3 it was one of the earliest commercial passenger planes.
Parade Of Planes
The Flying Aviation Expo comes to a close for this year. The airplanes on display at the Palm Springs Convention Center taxi back to the airport and planes from the Palm Springs Air Museum head on home. So very fun to see them under power cruising down the street!
Fly On In
The Flying Aviation Expo is here again in Palm Springs. About 5000 people here for it from just about everywhere. Here are a few photographs from yesterday. Great fun!
Just Needs A Quart Of Oil
Just top it off with a quart of oil and good to go! Ok maybe not. Just brought in to the Palm Springs Air Museum yesterday morning. This is a Grumman F9F Panther. The Panther was the U.S. Navy’s first successful carrier based jet aircraft. It was also the aircraft of the Blue Angels from 1949 – 1954. There were 1,382 built and today it is a very rare aircraft. It will go through extensive renovation at the Air Museum and before too will be on display looking like the day it came off the assembly line.
I did some online searching and found what may be a photo (below) of this actual aircraft on board a carrier during the Korean War. It is in the VF-821 Fighter Squadron and may have been on the USS Princeton and the USS Essex. It certainly looks like it was damaged. The photograph below that is an intact Panther on the USS Midway in 1952. I find that photo pretty exciting because I was a photographer onboard the Midway when she was decommissioned and brought into San Diego Harbor where she is today as a Museum.
Behind The Scenes At The Palm Springs Air Museum
So much goes on behind the scenes at the Palm Springs Air Museum. That incredible collection of aircraft goes from restoration to continuous maintenance. It sure is not like just buying a used car and polishing it up. These planes often go from barely recognizable to Museum quality gems. Here are a few photographs I just shot yesterday and I look forward to bringing you more from this incredible display of living history. Please keep coming back to see them. And go visit there, you will love it! Thanks!
Coming up on the time of year when the Palm Springs Air Museum starts running all kinds of great programs, events and flight demonstrations. Truly my favorite place! I can’t hang out there enough. Like so many of you I was the kid who built model airplanes of World War I and World War II fighters and bombers and then jets of all kinds. Imagined what it would be like to be behind the stick of these machines speeding above the Earth, close to the ground or catapulting off the deck of a carrier. Later myself taking to the air in a Cessna and occasional other small plane. And very excited to see my buddies like Hunter Johnson take to the air too, this time in the bombardier position of FiFi, a still flying B-29. Too Fun!
Lots Of Photo Fun!
A weekend of photographing some fun flying out of the Palm Springs Air Museum. A Navy SNJ trainer with a likely very happy passenger on board. The SNJ was also known as the T-6 Texan. Over 25 years there were 15,495 made and ultimately flown by 34 countries. It also was used in combat in World War II and Korea.
Awe Striking From 70 Years Ago
It is not everyday that you see a B-29 Superfortress start up and taxi out. But you can in the video here. Mostly known for being the airplanes that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was actually in some ways a more ominous part they played in ending of the War with Japan and the end of World War II. Flying in darkness at low altitudes, on March 10, 1945, over 300 B-29’s dropped almost a quarter of a million incendiary bombs on Tokyo itself. Can you imagine air fields filled with these giant bombers all starting up to fly a mission. And then hundreds of them overhead! Seventy years later, you can go this last remaining still flying B-29, for it’s visit today at the Palm Springs Air Museum.
The Bombardier Over Salton Sea
My buddy Hunter Johnson about to take off this morning in the Bombardier seat in the B-29 Superfortress “FiFi”. It is the only still flying B-29 in the world. This was especially historical because out of the Palm Springs Air Museum the flight was over the Salton Sea. During 1944-1945, Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets led the 393rd Heavy Bombardment Squadron in classified missions dropping dummy atomic bombs over the Satlon Sea. Then on August 6th, 1945 by Tibbets’ flew the B-29 Enola Gay to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima Japan. You can go see the B-29 “FiFi” at the Palm Springs Air Museum tomorrow Sunday and perhaps there might still be a seat available for you too! Check it out! http://psam.org
“Bucket Of Bolts” And More!
Tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday at the Palm Springs Air Museum you can see the only remaining still flying B-29 Superfortress “FiFi”. Bring your camera like I did and will be doing. You can tour the interior, watch her fly and even take a flight! Other planes will be out there too, like “Bucket Of Bolts” a C-45 WWII Military Transport. You can fly on “Bucket Of Botls” for as little as $75! Anyway I am just really big on this because it is one of those “once in a lifetime” opportunities and just believe people should take advantage of it when it comes your way. Especially if you live right here in the Palm Springs area. Check out the Palm Springs Air Museum Facebook page and website at http://psam.org for more info.
‘What’s Up Doc?”
The C-47 World War II Transport “What’s Up Doc?” doing some qualifying air time flying overhead yesterday. The tail section and wings are marked with the D-Day Invasion Stripes that identified Allied aircraft. Out of the Palm Springs Air Museum and on the way to the Air Show in El Centro California for this coming weekend.
Bored And Sipping On Your Frothy Coffee
Just imagine sitting over there in the passenger terminal waiting for your flight, slightly bored, sipping on your frothy coffee when you see this come in for a landing! Just WOW! The World’s only still flying B-29 coming in to the Palm Springs Air Museum. I really urge you not to miss the opportunity to go see “FiFi”! You can tour the interior, watch her fly or even fly on board. One of those “once in a lifetime”!
“FiFi” Ain’t No Dame!
“FiFi” is the World’s only still flying B-29 Superfortress. Flown at the end of World War II, it was B-29’s that dropped the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There were 3,970 built and “FiFi” is the only one still flying as you can see in my photographs with her coming in to the Palm Springs Air Museum yesterday. You can go see this immense historic aircraft yourself through Sunday. Not only can you just go and look but you can tour the interior or even book a flight. But do not miss the opportunity to see this incredible part of history!
Fly By Backyard
I will confess to just hanging around poolside in my backyard for some of yesterday. It was bright and sunny and 86 degrees. So I amused myself by photographing a few friends as they dropped by.
Hellcat, Harriers And Hornets
If you had been at the Palm Springs Air Museum yesterday to see a flying Hellcat you would have had a lot more coming your way. The United States Navy F6F Hellcat was a carrier based plane that destroyed more enemy aircraft during WWII than any other Allied Naval Aircraft. A truly huge and impressive airplane that was plenty to see in flight all by itself. But extra added excitement at the Palm Springs Airport with United States Marine Harriers and United States Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets landing and departing during the day. A very unexpected air show! The Palm Springs Air Museum is a good place to be!
Here is something you will not see everyday. As I was on the ramp at the Palm Springs Air Museum yesterday, this came flying by… The Fouga CM 170 Magister was built as a French two seat jet trainer starting in 1952 and went into production in 1956. A top speed estimated at 444 mph, a range of 575 miles and weight 4,740 lbs. It is 33 ft long and has a wingspan of 40 ft. This one was built in 1963 and all Fougas now are privately owned. Yes this would be my idea of a fun ride!
Video I shot of the T-28 on the way out from the Palm Springs Air Museum for a flight demonstration.
T-28 On An SX-70
I had photographed this T-28 in my prior post on the ground a few weeks ago at the Palm Springs Air Museum. However I shot it with a Polaroid SX-70 camera with film from the Impossible Project. Something about this Polaroid print makes it one of my favorites.
Dropping By For A Visit
A United States Navy T-28 trainer dropping past me for a photo opportunity. Lucky for me I was ready and wearing my tall shoes! Yesterday at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Always Fun!