Features World’s Only Flying PB4Y-2 Privateer and Commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Release and Return Home of American Vietnam War Prisoners of War
May 17, 2023, Palm Springs, CA: The renowned Palm Springs Air Museum Memorial Day Flower Drop & Air Fair returns Monday 29, 2023. Air Fair starts at 10 am, and Flower Drop Ceremony starts at 1 pm. As in years past, the day includes music, food vendors, kids’ activities, and airplanes taking off and landing on the tarmac. Returning also this year is FREE offsite parking with shuttle service from the parking lot at PS Unified School District! The emotional highlight of the day is the dropping of 3,000 red and white carnations from a vintage aircraft. The B-25 Mitchell Bomber will lead the processional from inside the hangar. There will be the missing man flight formation, where 4 vintage planes fly in formation over the museum twice, and then during the 3rd pass, one of the planes veers off, with 3 remaining in formation. This symbolizes the loss of a pilot.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Release and Return Home of American Vietnam War POW’s. Vietnam War POWs will be honored, along with Gold Star Families of the Desert. Gold Star Families are the Coachella Valley families of those killed in action, such as Hunter Lopez.
Vintage warbirds scheduled to fly are B-25 Mitchell Bomber, Two P-51 Mustangs, T-28 Trojan, F8F Bearcat, P-63 Kingcobra, PT-17 Stearman and the C-47 Skytrain. Returning after again this year is the World’s Only Flying PB4Y-2 Privateer and NEW this year will be the OV-10.
The flower drop honors and memorializes all veterans who lost their lives defending the US. The white carnations are in honor of those who fought in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. The red carnations are in honor of those who died in more recent conflicts including the Persian Gulf, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. Along with the carnations, a dozen roses will be added in honor of local Gold Star Families – those local families who lost loved ones while serving the USA. Hunter Lopez’ family is the most recent Gold Star Family.
Warbird rides are also on sale. Visit PSAirMuseum.org/Warbird-Rides/ to purchase rides in advance. This year’s Flower Sponsor is Jessup Auto Plaza. “The entire Jessup Auto Plaza team is very excited and proud to be able to help support this important recognition and remembrance of the tremendous sacrifices made on behalf of our country,” said Andy Jessup, Sr. who also serves as a Palm Springs Air Museum Board Member. “It’s even more personal for our family because we have three generations of veterans.” Jessup is a retired Air Force Captain and Vietnam veteran. Currently celebrating its 85th year of serving Coachella Valley families, Jessup Auto Plaza is a Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC dealership spanning three generations as a family owned and operated dealership. Returning sponsors from previous years are the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, the Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation, The Chandi Group, the City of Palm Springs, Palm Springs Resorts, Conrad Hilton Foundation and McDonalds – The Shalhoub Family. Additional support comes from the Southern California Gas Company, Desert Water, Robert Gilliland, Jr. and the Houston Family Foundation.
The Palm Springs Air Museum contains over 73 vintage airframes from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the new F-117 Stealth Fighter inside The Jim Houston Pavilion. Aircraft are contained inside 91,000 square feet of open hangars and on the tarmac. Additional displays and memorabilia are located throughout the hangars. The Museum is open daily from 10 am until 5 PM.
For more info, visit PalmSpringsAirMuseum.org or call 760-778-6262 during business hours.