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Palm Springs Air Museum kicks off “Frontline Fridays,” flying historic planes to honor essential workers

The Palm Springs Air Museum is saluting local essential workers this month taking to the skies.

Three historic aircraft from Palm Springs Air Museum flew over Desert Regional Hospital as they honor our frontline workers.

"It made me cry, " said Sandra Butkus.

Veteran nurse, Sandra Butkus stands tall waving her American flag to also pay tribute to the vintage warbird aircraft that once served our country.

"If they weren't here back in 1941, we wouldn't be here," said Butkus. "Life would be different than we know it."

Healthcare workers gathered in the front lawn of the hospital ready to snap that photo of the fly by.

"I am deeply humbled and appreciative that they would consider this and honor the healthcare workers," said Randall McCafferty, Neurosurgeon at Desert Care Network.

The hospital's trauma team lined up together on the rooftop to also catch a glimpse of C-47 Skytrain, P-51 Mustang-- and the P-63 Kingcobra.

"They were loving it and we love seeing them all up there," said Butkus. "You could see the unity, we were all one."

The tribute is called “Frontline Friday” and starts this week. The plan is to fly over local cities and health care facilities each Friday in May. Each Friday the pilots will fly over a different part of the valley. 

"Its a safe thing we can do, it's our little way of saying thank you," said Greg Kenny, Operations Manager at Palm Springs Air Museum.

Friday's route included  Palm Springs City Hall, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians tribe offices, Desert Water Agency and Cathedral City's essential workers were also honored for their help in battling the coronavirus outbreak.

"The healthcare workers are here to try to overcome this pandemic and also continue to take care of the community as we always have done and this has presented a new challenge," said McCafferty. "The health care workers are on the frontline and they are doing the best they can to keep the community safe."

On Memorial Day , all eight historic aircraft will fly a circuit across the entire valley to honor those lost at war, and also those lost to coronavirus. The air museum is doing that instead of its traditional memorial day "flower drop" because of social distancing.

Check out a preview of the flyover with a close look at the historic planes
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Madison Weil

Madison Weil joined the KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 News Team in June 2018. Learn more about Madison here.

Dani Romero


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