Gumbo was visiting the Palm Springs Air Museum in the California desert, and specifically had the privilege of sitting in the cockpit of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber (like the one in the above photo). Congratulations to the many who solved the puzzle. PHeymont was the first to email the answer, followed by PortMoresby, Chris Taylor and mBybee. I believe GarryRF and Mac also had it figured out, but they're both shy Englishmen who don't like to speculate in public.
(entrance to Palm Springs Air Museum)
The Palm Springs Air Museum is located on the north side of the Palm Springs Airport. The Air Museum is housed in an expansive structure that includes the two main display halls and hangars, a theater, gift shop, research library, flight simulator and education center. It's website indicates it's been rated by CNN as one of the top 14 Air Museums in the World. The museum provides an up-close look at the legendary fighters and bombers of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. The warm, dry desert climate is ideal for preserving planes, so in this regard the museum is well situated. What's most amazing is that most of these planes are flight-worthy (27 flyable aircraft), making it one of the world's largest collections of flyable WWII airplanes.
(B17 Flying Fortress Bombers, circa 1941)
The docent/guides are often retired air force personal who actually worked with the planes they give you a tour of during their military service. Their enthusiasm for the aircraft is infectious. Many of these men are heroes and it's a great privilege to hear them share their love of these beautiful machines.
Twice a month on Saturday afternoons (and some holidays) museum visitors can watch in-air flight demonstrations of these historic aircraft! The sights and the sounds are distinctive and would be most memorable! I'd sure like to see a flight demo someday.
More photos of the Air Museum's amazing collection follow. For photo legends, scroll and hold your mouse over the image, or click on the thumbnails below.