On April 13, 1947, participants of the sixth annual Palm Springs Breakfast Flight darkened the desert sky as the greatest mass flight of private planes in history touched down at the airport in Palm Springs.
The annual event, sponsored by the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce, attracted more than 850 private planes of all types and sizes. The first plane touched down at 8 a.m. piloted by actor Andy Devine and his wife. More planes followed at the rate of one every 12 seconds until the entire 7,000 foot parking ramp was jammed with three solid rows of planes.
The event attracted a crowd of about 2,000 air enthusiasts, who stood along the fences that corded off the landing field and watched excitedly as the planes began to come into view.
There were two mishaps on the airfield during the event. One was a Ryan primary trainer that caught a prop wash of a Navy fighter plane and turned over while attempting to land. The other was a plane that skidded on its nose when the landing brakes locked.
Once all of the planes were safely tied down, the long list of well-known members of the Los Angeles business community as well as Hollywood celebrities lined up with other hungry pilots and their guests to be served army style in lines that extended almost a quarter mile across the airfield.
There is a multitude of ways to learn more about Palm Springs, which turned 75 in 2013.
One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.
The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a weekly story whose time and place corresponds with today.
The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Visit www.pshistoricalsociety.org for more information.