F-104 for the Palm Springs Air Museum Open Cockpit

F-104-Palm Spring Air Museum copy

This Saturday, from 1 – 3 PM, aviation enthusiasts will have the opportunity to sit behind the controls of an F-104 Starfighter at the The Palm Springs Air Museum in Palm Springs, California. This Starfighter is a recent acquisition for the storied museum, having only just arrived there this June.

Fokker Aircraft Industries built the F-104G Starfighter under license in 1964 for the Royal Dutch Air Force. The fighter initially joined 311 squadron at Twenthe Air Base before moving on to a new home base at Volkel two years later. She retired from flying in November 1983, and ended up as an instructional airframe at the Dutch Air Force Technical School in Schaarsbergen. By the time the school was done with her in October, 1997, she more resembled a Soviet jet, as the sleek fighter had received a Russian-style paint job with a red star on the tail, and red over-painted serial number. Tech school personnel nicknamed her “Gorby-jet”, for obvious reasons.

F-104_D-8244_NB_JanHazeveld
The Palm Springs Air Museum’s F-104G taxiing while in service with the Dutch Air Force. (photo by Jan Hazeveld)

No longer of use, even as a training aide, the Starfighter moved on to Deelen Air Base, and later to Soesterberg Air Base storage facility for Museum exchange purposes. In 2010, Star Trek Next Generation actor Michael Dorn bought the jet and had it flown to Everett, Washington that September to join another F-104 that the actor/pilot had in restoration. However, that project apparently fell through, and the F-104G moved to Denison, Texas in June, 2011 for storage and possible sale. Dorn put her up for sale in 2012, and the Palm Springs Air Museum bought her in early 2014. The rest is history, as they say.

Upcoming Open Cockpit events at the museum are as follows…

Aug 23th : F-4 Phantom II Aug 30th: Supermarine Spitfire MK XIV Sept 6th: AH-1 Cobra Helicopter Sept 13th: P-40 Warhawk Sept 20th: Mig 21 Jet Fighter Sept 27th: SBD Dauntles

They are included with regular museum admission. Kids five and under get in free, as do active military personnel with ID and their immediate family. In addition, the Buddy Rogers Theater will play documentaries featuring “Open Cockpit” aircraft all day long. Museum volunteers will also be on hand to answer questions and provide the historical back drop for the featured aircraft.

For more information about the museum:

Palm Springs Air Museum 745 North Gene Autry Trail P Palm Springs, California 92262 Ph: 760-778-6262 Fax: 760-482-188

www.palmspringsairmuseum.com

*** Many thanks to Harry Prins, founder and editor of the F-104 International Society.

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