At the Palm Springs Air Museum a World War 2 P-63 fighter plane is getting a last minute inspection as it gets ready to do a flyover salute for the front line workers in the Coachella valley who are waging war against COVID-19.
“Traditionally flyovers and salutes have been done for dignitaries and special occasions this certainly is one of them for essential workers and first responders,” says Fred Bell, the vice chairman of the museum.
Volunteer pilot Pat Nightingale says it’s fitting the Palm Springs air museum is doing these ‘Flyover Fridays’, “This museum is built on people making sacrifices and people working hard and it’s great to be a volunteer pilot I believe in what they did then and I believe in what everybody’s doing now so it’s an honor.”
Bell says the fighter planes used to do these salutes, like this P-51 Mustang nicknamed ‘Bunny’ are special, “Our aircraft represent kind of the golden age and World War 2 of victory … so this is an opportunity to use a symbol a very powerful symbol of the aircraft to say thank you.”
Current military planes are also doing these salutes across the Southland.
Bell says these flyovers are meaningful, “It’s also important to know they actually represent our government and our government is saying thank you to those essential workers.”
And our nurses felt special at seeing this military might.
“We at Desert Regional Medical Center were honored to see them fly over,” says Teresa Whipple, the executive director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center.
For Bell whose son is an essential worker these flyovers are a symbol of hope to all who see them, “We’re going to get though this and we are going to get to the other side so see the airplanes, realize that’s going to happen and in our way thank you.”
Front line Flyover Fridays will continue through May. For more information on their flight schedule click here: PSAM