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Sat, Nov 04, 2023

Palm Springs Air Museum Plans Veterans Day B-29 Debut

Winning by a Nose …

At 11:00 PST on Saturday, November 11th, 2023, Veterans Day, all 91,000-square-feet of the Palm Springs Air Museum will resonate with the excitement befitting the unveiling of the institution’s newest acquisition—the nose and cockpit section of a Boeing B-29 Superfortress dubbed Hot One (44-69957).

The exhibit will be dedicated to the memory of Bob McKee, one of the Palm Springs Air Museum's beloved docents, and to the City of Palm Springs; so stated Museum director Fred Bell.

The left and right sides of Hot One’s nose section are adorned with the city of Palm Springs' logo and the aircraft’s squadron's logo respectively. Bob McKee was a B-29 radar operator with the 479th Bomb Group, 20th Air Force. Hot One, conversely, flew with the 879th Bombardment Squadron of the 499th Bombardment Group out of Isley Field, Saipan. The bomber returned to the United States after the Second World War and was converted to an SB-29 Search & Rescue Aircraft. In 1960, she was sent to China Lake, California and an ignominious and as a test target. In short-order, the once-proud aircraft suffered a direct-hit during a weapons test. While the detonation destroyed most of the aircraft, 44-69957’s anterior fuselage section survived.

Over a period of time measurable in decades, the old B-29 first passed into the possession of more compassionate stewards, then came to the attention of the Palm Springs Air Museum, volunteers of which painstakingly restored the machine’s salvageable structures.

Speaking to the subject of Hot One’s upcoming public debut, Mr. Bell remarked: "This is an extremely rare airplane and we are so happy to be able to give her a new lease on life.”

The B-29’s unveiling, as it were, will be accompanied by live music as performed by the Heatwave Jazz Band. To complete the festive air, birthday cake will be served to museum visitors. Outside the museum, vintage warbirds—to include warbird for-pay warbird rides—will land and depart from the adjacent runway. Young people 12-and-under get in free with paid adult admission. Veterans, in keeping with the date and the event’s spirit, will enjoy free admission on the holiday.

Boasting a collection of over 73 vintage airframes representative of the WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Cold War eras, the Palm Springs Air Museum is an educational non-profit.

FMI: www.PalmSpringsAirMuseum.org

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