On September 8, 1951, 48 nations signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty officially ending the Allied Powers occupation of Japan post World War II, but before peace was reached, air combat was one of them main way to conquer battles and a key aircraft used for winning happens to sit inside the Palm Springs Air Museum.
The Vice-Chairman of the museum, Fred Bell, said the U.S. Army Air Corps service-members first trained in an AT-6 Texan, the cockpit fits two, the pilot and the trainer.
Bell said, “So if they had a problem they can learn in that airplane with an instructor before they went and fight in there by themselves.”
Training pilots how to fly a war plane seems obvious but in the middle of war, details went out the window. Bell said the lack of flight training by the Axis Powers was just one of the reasons to its eventual defeat.
Bell said, “And they send them right into combat and these pilots might only know straight level flight and so it was fatal.”
American Pilots spent 100 hours training inside an AT-6 Texan.
On this Saturday, visitors of the museum were able to take a closer look at the war plane and actually go inside the cockpit, Zane Hathaway and his little sister were one of the visitors who saw the inside of the plane, he said, “You could move it left and right to move the wings up and down.”
The plane inside the Palm Springs Air Museum still flies and even though the aircraft will not fly out of the hangar anytime soon, the curiosity to go inside a cockpit of a war plane from WWII goes beyond children.
James Stuck visited the museum from Orange County with his wife, he was one of many visitors to hop on the AT-6 Texan.
“It’s a different sensation to sit inside an older plane and look at what they were dealing with,” Stuck said. “How a plane worked back in that day compared to what we have today and it was just a nostalgic feeling.”
The staff of at the museum are happy to share the plane’s history with visitors, but most importantly they want to raise interest for a new generation of pilots.
Bell said, “We’re supporting the generations that built these airplanes, and remembering them, but also it’s about getting kids and young adults excited about careers in aviation.”